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WDE Strengthens Special Education Spending Guidelines

As part of an ongoing effort to root out inefficiencies in public education, lawmakers have asked the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) to draft rules that strengthen guidelines for special education spending. Wyoming is the only state to reimburse school districts 100 percent for special education services.

Jed Cicarelli helped shape the rules as the School Foundation Supervisor for the Wyoming Department of Education, but now he’s considering the strengthened guidelines from his new role as the Director of Finance for Laramie County School District #1. He said increased specificity will be good for the state and for schools, by reducing the work required to vet a questionable cost with the Wyoming Department of Education.

“You know [school] staff change, and there’s turn over at the state level too, so additional guidance and clarification is vital to make sure that that’s consistent.”

He said the new Chapter 44 rules will not impact the services available to students.

“Really this is just a clarification on what pot of money these expenditures are supposed to be coming out of,” said Cicarelli. “Is it coming out of the general education side or is it coming out of the special education side? It’s not limiting those services.”

Cicarelli pointed out that in addition to requesting these new rules, lawmakers also passed legislation capping special education spending following the 2018-19 school year.

The Wyoming Department of Education is taking public comment on the new guidelines until October 14.

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.

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