Two bills have been introduced that seek to address the issue of how to serve children with higher-level needs in their local school divisions.
HB 176 (Bell, Richard P.) directs the Department of Education to implement a pilot program in two local school divisions to study the resources necessary to transition students currently placed in a private school setting to a public school setting, including the potential redirection of CSA funds to provide resources and supports in the public school setting. SB 205 (Stuart), a more narrowly-tailored bill, provides that children transferring from a private placement to a public school special education program established in Planning District 16 would be eligible for CSA funds. Both bills respond to the growing cost of providing services to CSA-eligible children in private day placements.
Additionally, HJ 29 (Bell, Richard P.) directs the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to conduct a wide-ranging study of CSA, to include coordination of Medicaid-funded services, placement decisions for special education services, and the use of outcome measures for quality and cost-effectiveness of services. Budget language continues a 2017 study by House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committee staff of ways to improve the quality and better manage the costs of private day placements, and provides funding for a study of the current rates paid for private day programs, to include recommendations for implementing a rate-setting structure.
VACo Contact: Katie Boyle