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Allocations, Carryover & Funding

Introduction to Special Education Funding


Annually, the US Department of Education grants funds under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to the State of Wisconsin.  The Department of Public Instruction administers the IDEA grant.  Part of that administration includes sub-granting to approximately 440 agencies in Wisconsin, mostly to LEAs (school districts, independent charter schools, Department of Corrections and Department of Health Services). 

The funds that are awarded to LEAs are done so on a non-competitive basis and are meant to help offset the costs of providing special education instruction and related services to students who have been identified as a student with a disability under IDEA, in need of special education.

IDEA Part B funds are calculated according to a formula established with the IDEA Amendments of 1997. Prior to the 1997 amendments to IDEA, federal funds were distributed on the basis of  “child count,” the number of students with disabilities receiving services in an LEA.  The formula revisions in the 1997 amendments ended the reliance on child count data and substituted a population factor (total student enrollment), plus a poverty factor. 

The formula kept a portion of the old calculation method by determining a base payment, which is the amount that the LEA received in IDEA funds the final year child count was used to determine the allocation. However, since the late 1990s, the IDEA grant to Wisconsin has increased leaving a balance after the base payments are determined. These “new funds” are then distributed to LEAs based on total student enrollment and the number of students living in poverty. Of the new funds, 85% is provided based on a student count of all students enrolled in the LEA's jurisdiction, public and private, not just students with disabilities. The remaining 15% of new funds is distributed based on the LEA’s Title I poverty count.

IDEA Flow-through and Preschool Formula Allocations -
Posted Amounts 

(FY 2024-2025 Preliminary Allocation Amounts Posted)

IDEA Carryover


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B formula funds awarded to LEAs are available to LEAs for 27 months from the date of the award in accordance with the Tydings Amendment, which is referenced in section 421 (20 U.S.C. 1225) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA).


The 27 months begins on the day the formula award is made to the LEA, which is July 1 of each fiscal year if DPI has received the LEA’s application in substantially approvable form - which is the signed IDEA Part B Formula assurances through WISEgrants. As an example, flow-through formula funds that are awarded to an LEA on July 1, 2024, are available to the LEA until September 30, 2026.

LEAs that carry over funds from one fiscal year to the next must monitor spending to ensure the amount carried over is claimed within the required timeline or risk losing unspent funds. 

Click here for more detailed information on IDEA carryover and Tydings

Questions on IDEA Part B Formula Allocations may be directed to Glenn Aumann

Questions regarding IDEA Flow-through and Preschool formula grants and fiscal compliance should be directed to the DPI special education fiscal inbox: This inbox is managed by Will Cannon.

To schedule a technical assistance meeting with Will Cannon or Rachel Zellmer, Special Education Team fiscal monitoring consultants, please use our Bookings page.