Education agencies settle dispute over recession-era cuts

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – The state Department of Education will distribute $51 million to school districts to settle a dispute with the federal government over recession-era budget cuts.

The agreement announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education ends its five-year threat to punish South Carolina for not spending enough on students with disabilities in the years during and following the Great Recession.

State education spokesman Ryan Brown says the agency is happy to finally resolve the issue.

Districts should get their portion over the next year. The Legislature set aside $60 million for the potential settlement.

Federal law bars states from spending less money on special education from one year to the next.

The federal agency initially threatened in 2011 to permanently cut the state’s special education allotment by nearly $112 million.

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