The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is holding a series of public hearings to inform the public of changes that will be made to the delivery of the state’s special education services in order to be compliant with federal rules and regulations.
DESE’s Jim Morris says there is a lot of federal money up for grabs and Missouri must go along with federal rules if it wants to continue receiving that money.
“The Department of Education receives more than $200-million in federal funding to support special education services in education districts throughout Missouri,” said Morris in an interview with the Missourinet. “As part of that process we have a state plan which is all of the federal and state regulations governing special education programs.”
The federal funding is critical.
“There’s a significant number of students in Missouri who qualify for special education services,” said Morris. “We get a hefty chunk of federal money to support that”
The hearings allow education officials to present the plan that must be implemented and to get public feedback on the plan.
“In order to qualify for the funds we have to adopt a state plan,” said Morris. “We need to update Missouri’s regulations to mirror some changes that have been made in federal policy.”
Public hearings have already been held in Jefferson City and Kansas City, with future meetings scheduled for Columbia on Tuesday afternoon and in St. Louis on January 26th.