Local Educational Agency (LEA) Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Organizer
Budgeting & Expending
There are five allowable exceptions by which an LEA may reduce its level of expenditures below the level for the most recent fiscal year for which data are available (eligibility) or for the preceding fiscal year (compliance):
(a) The voluntary departure, by retirement or otherwise, or departure for just cause, of special education or related services personnel;
(b) A decrease in the enrollment of children with disabilities;
(c) The termination of the obligation of the agency to provide a program of special education to a particular child with a disability that is an exceptionally costly program because the child has left the jurisdiction, aged out of special education, or no longer needs the program of special education;
(d) The termination of costly expenditures for long-term purchases, such as the acquisition of equipment or the construction of school facilities; and
(e) The assumption of cost by the high cost fund operated by the SEA under §300.704(c).
Intervening years. When there are years between the last time an LEA met MOE using a specific method and the current year, the SEA must allow the LEA to take allowable exceptions and adjustments for the intervening years.
34 CFR § 300.203 (a)(2)(i) Maintenance of effort. Eligibility standard. Describes intervening year(s) as it relates to the allowable exceptions for LEA MOE so that the SEA can determine how to provide TA to LEAs that must maintain effort under 34 CFR §300.203.
34 CFR §300.204 Exception to maintenance of effort. Describes the five allowable exceptions to the MOE requirements so that the SEA can determine how to provide TA to LEAs that must maintain effort under 34 CFR §300.203.
OSEP Guidance — Section D. Provides questions and answers on the final LEA MOE regulations that were released on April 28, 2015.
Letter to Lovato (2015). Responds to questions about the use of MOE exceptions using examples of a provider who is a consultant and leaves the LEA. The letter explains that an LEA may take the exception under 34 CFR §300.204(a) for the voluntary departure, or departure for just cause, regardless of whether a special education teacher or related services provider is an employee of the public agency or an independent contractor.
Letter to Gonzales (2012). Provides clarification and examples of permissible ways in which an LEA may use the voluntary departure exception when determining the amount it can reduce its MOE. See 34 CFR §300.204(a).
Letter to Boundy (2012). Clarifies that the level of effort that an LEA must meet in the year after it fails to maintain effort is the level that it should have met in the prior year, and not the LEA’s actual expenditures. Note: This clarification withdraws the 6/16/11 MOE letter to Bill East, National Association of State Directors for Special Education (NASDE), not to be confused with any other letter to East.
Letter to Gill (2011). This 2011 letter clarifies that the regulation stating that for any fiscal year for which the allocation by an LEA under IDEA exceeds the amount that the LEA received for the previous fiscal year, the LEA may reduce the level of expenditures otherwise required by IDEA by not more than 50 percent of the amount of that excess does not restrict the MOE reductions that may be made because of the five exceptions. See 34 CFR §300.205(a) and 34 CFR §300.204.
Letter to Andrejack (2010). Addresses three IDEA fiscal topics, two of which are MOE and CEIS. The MOE question relates to the relationship of MOE to significantly reduced property tax revenues and the lack of MOE waiver opportunities for LEAs. OSEP responded that although there are no MOE waivers, there are circumstances in which LEAs may reduce MOE.
Letter to White (2003). This letter describes the four exceptions for an LEA to reduce its level of expenditures using local, or state and local, funds below those for the preceding fiscal year. The letter further clarifies that Part B of the IDEA does not permit an LEA to reduce its level of expenditures if the decrease is due to a reduction in the rate that an LEA pays for retirement contributions on behalf of its employees. There must be an actual departure (voluntary or for just cause) of special education or related services personnel. Note: the regulations have been revised at least once since the references in the document and therefore while the information is still relevant, the regulation numbers may not still be accurate.
TA Center Resources
CIFR. Applying Exceptions to IDEA Local Educational Agency Maintenance of Effort. Helps SEAs and LEAs develop effective practices for reviewing and applying exceptions to the required level of effort. The practice guide describes each of the five allowable exceptions, with helpful tips and examples showing how to calculate total and per capita amounts. It also demonstrates how the subsequent years rule and intervening years provision work.
CIFR. Understanding LEA MOE PowerPoint Training Deck. Developed by CIFR, this PowerPoint training deck is designed for SEA staff to train LEA staff to increase their familiarity and comfort level with applying the LEA MOE regulatory requirements under IDEA Part B. The customizable training deck includes a basic review of the regulatory requirements, examples of the requirements at work, and a list of additional resources. The deck is accompanied by a Microsoft Word Script and a Guide to Slides with presenter tips and directions for customization.
CIFR. LEA MOE Calculator. Allows SEAs and LEAs to determine whether the LEA MOE eligibility (budget) and compliance (expenditure) standards have been met by any of the four methods permitted by IDEA. The calculator assists users in identifying the appropriate comparison year and amount and accounts for exceptions and adjustments from current and past years.