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SANTA FE (AP) — Millions of dollars of federal money for special-education programs in New Mexico is at risk because the state hasn’t met all of Washington’s requirements to qualify for the funding.
Between $43 million and $93 million could be withheld in future years, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
Officials with the U.S. Department of Education said the problem is that the state failed to abide by a requirement to not reduce its own spending on federally funded programs and so far has failed to obtain a waiver from the agency.
State legislators addressed the issue Monday during a joint hearing of the Senate and House education committees. They said they’re still trying to sort out exactly what happened, and they expressed concerns over what the situation means for the state’s education budget.
The Public Education Department maintains that it has been discussing the issue with the federal agency since the beginning of Gov. Susana Martinez’s tenure as governor.
Correspondence between the state and the agency show that New Mexico was notified of stricter spending guidelines in the fall of 2011, and the two parties agreed that the state should request a waiver the following spring.
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