(Tennessee Dept. of Education press release) The Tennessee Department of Education announced Wednesday that an additional $5 million will be available for Tennessee school districts to provide compensatory services and support innovative approaches to the remediation of students with disabilities due to extended COVID-19 related school closures.
These one-time, compensatory grant funds will be disbursed to districts July 1 as an increase in districts’ federal IDEA part B formula funding. Allocations are based on each district’s relative share of the state’s IDEA part B allocations for the most recent year for which the department has final allocations (FY20). Districts will then be able to budget these additional funds in concert with their FY21 allocation for IDEA part B for the purposes of providing compensatory services required by law.
“As districts prepare for the coming school year, it will be important to evaluate the impact extended school closures have had on the learning of all students,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “As part of this work, the department is continuing to work closely with our district leaders to give them the support they need to serve students with disabilities in a COVID reality, and has reprioritized funding to ensure we can make available an additional 5 million dollars to help fulfill a critical, expressed need to deliver compensatory education services and ensure all students receive the supports they need this fall. Now more than ever, it is important to ensure that all of our children are served and these funds will help our state reach that goal.”
Compensatory services are services that should be provided to a student, when needed, to elevate the student to the position they would have otherwise occupied had services not been delayed or postponed. It is a remedy designed to deliver services that a student should have received in order to be provided a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
“We recognize that districts are working extremely hard to meet the needs of all students, including students with disabilities, during periods of extended school closures,” said Theresa Nicholls, Assistant Commissioner for Special Populations. “Despite these efforts, we also know that some students will require compensatory education this fall. The department is committed to providing the support and fiscal resources to ensure that districts are able to provide these services to the students who need them.”
For additional information on the department’s COVID-19 related resources, please visit https://www.tn.gov/education/health-and-safety/update-on-coronavirus.html.