Texas may have again illegally reduced special education funding

The day after the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Texas for spending tens of millions of dollars less than it was supposed to on kids with disabilities in 2012, advocates have dug up documents appearing to show Texas did the same thing in 2017 — raising the prospect it could get hit with even more penalties.

For months, Texas has battled with the U.S. Department of Education over how to interpret a 1997 federal statute prohibiting states from reducing their funding for kids with disabilities from year to year. Appeals court judges on Wednesday effectively upheld the federal government's interpretation — and its decision to penalize Texas for the $33.3 million it underspent six years ago.

Texas' 2012 special ed spending decrease is "not an isolated violation of federal law," said Steven Aleman, policy specialist at Disability Rights Texas, which works to protect the rights of people with disabilities.

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