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Stimulus funds for special-education diverted for other uses

An investigation by Shannon Mullen of the Asbury (N.J.) Park Press shows that special-education stimulus funds have been diverted to other costs in Monmouth and Ocean counties, including legal fees and teacher benefits. "The redirection of funds was possible thanks to a previously little-used provision in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the federal statute that guarantees children with disabilities the right to a 'free and appropriate' education. The law allows districts to use up to half of any annual increase in such federal aid to replace local tax dollars earmarked for special education, freeing up those funds for other uses."

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