CIFR’s Listserv Brings Together IDEA State Fiscal Staff
Launched in February 2015, the IDEA Part B listserv is one of the first tools that CIFR provided to support fiscal specialists around the country. This simple method of group communication over email is a powerful way to bring Part B state staff together to share information quickly and efficiently. Using the listserv, members get timely support from their peers and exchange ideas.
“It gives me peace of mind,” said Cynthia Hargrave, Fiscal Program Supervisor, Special Education, in Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). “I also appreciate the quick response we receive when we submit questions.”
“I can reach out to my counterparts across the country to ask questions and get their input on strategies to resolve various situations,” said Tina Pablo-Long, Director of Operations, Special Education at OSPI. “I have been able to observe… how other states run their programs and share what we do in my state.”
Moderated by CIFR TA staff, the Part B listserv is a private community limited to state staff and CIFR where, by September 2021, 893 total posts had been made. While CIFR uses the listserv to announce important deadlines, upcoming events, and new resources, states contribute the lion’s share of posts, asking and responding to questions and sharing procedures and implementation of IDEA fiscal requirements.
Neil Stevens, Fiscal Monitor Team Lead, Special Education, Utah State Board of Education has used the listserv for more than four years. “It is a great place to gather insight and ask questions…about other states’ procedures and for validation of my interpretation of a particular statute or regulation,” he said. “Best of all, it is available 24/7, and you may receive multiple responses in a short amount of time.”
CIFR launched a second listserv in early 2021 to connect IDEA Part C state lead agency coordinators. Along with CIFR’s Communities of Practice, IDEA Fiscal Forums, and TA webinars, both listservs will support states in the years to come. To be added to a listserv, state staff should contact their CIFR state TA liaisons.