IDEA - Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Requirement

The term “Maintenance of Effort,” often shortened to “MOE,” refers to the requirement placed upon many federally funded grant programs that the State Education Agency (SEA) and Local Education Agencies (LEA) demonstrate that the level of state and local funding remains relatively constant from year to year. Failure to meet MOE requirements may result in the LEA losing eligibility to receive IDEA entitlement funding and requiring an LEA to repay funds, using a non-federal source, to the SEA, who is required to send funds to the US Department of Education.

At the local level, IDEA requires that LEAs expend the same amount of local / state funding for special education and related services as it expended in the previous fiscal year (34 CFR §300.203). There are provisions in IDEA to allow for decreases in an LEA’s MOE from one fiscal year to the next.
Important FY 2015 MOE Information
To review your Maintenance of Effort eligibility status with Rachel Zellmer, please contact Marge Schenk at  She will schedule a conference call time.  
Medicaid MAC and Cost Settlement funds coded to Fund 10
Since DPI’s standardization of monitoring IDEA’s maintenance of effort compliance requirement, past Medicaid cost settlements have resulted in a number of complicated issues for districts. The IDEA regulations state that revenue received through Medicaid should offset a district’s special education expenditures to reflect true local costs (34 CFR §300.154(g)(2); however, in the case of MAC and cost settlements, the revenue received is often years after the expenditures were made. 
Maintenance of Effort compliance is based on a July 1 to June 30 fiscal year comparison. Once the fiscal year is closed (we use the date September 30), any opportunities to “amend” the prior year expenditures by moving costs between funding sources is no longer permitted. Using the same concept with Medicaid MAC and cost settlements, we believe that revenue received after the close of a fiscal year (September 30) should be excluded from the MOE calculation. For example, a cost settlement for the 2011-12 fiscal year received in June of 2015 would be excluded from the MOE calculation. 
Beginning with fiscal year 2013-14, all MAC or Cost Settlement payments or recoupments must be booked to fund 10. All interim SBS payments or recoupments (current and immediate prior) will continue to be booked in fund 27.
For additional information and examples, please view /files/sped/pdf/medicaid-coding-ta.pdf
This information is also available as a recorded webinar with a companion handout
Maintenance of Effort (MOE) Technical Assistance


IDEA MOE Guide Technical Assistance Document


This guide provides an overview of the IDEA MOE regulations, covers how DPI tests an LEA's compliance with the MOE regulations, and walks the reader through the web-based Eligibility and Compliance reports. This guide was revised in March 2014 to reflect the retooling of the MOE web-based compliance software and to reflect the clarification provided by OSEP in September 2013. 
Chapters include:
Overview of IDEA Maintenance of Effort
Testing IDEA Maintenance of Effort
Eligibility Report
Compliance Report
Maintenance of Effort Regulations
Frequently Asked Questions
Other Guidance
Financial and Student Data Technical Assistance Document
Pulled from the MOE guide, this five-page document covers the expenditure and revenue accounts used in the MOE calculation. It also includes a description of the difference between the October 1 Child Count and the student count used for the MOE calculation. 

Exception Checklist Technical Assistance Document

This includes a list of possible exceptions a district should review if MOE compliance has not been met. This list will be udpated as additional situations are determined. 


Options for Maintaining IDEA Maintenance of Effort Technical Assistance Document

The Special Education Team has determined several options an LEA may wish to consider when planning for maintenance of effort compliance in future fiscal years. These options are described at length in this document.

Information from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)
  • In an April 4, 2012 response to Kathleen Boundy from the Center for Law and Education(CLE), OSEP rescinded a policy interpretation originally issued on June 16, 2011 to Bill East, Executive Director of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE), regarding an LEA's level of effort in the case where MOE compliance has not been met. OSEP is withdrawing their interpretation as expressed in the letter to Dr. East and now believes that the level of effort that an LEA must meet in the year after it fails to maintain effort is the level of effort that it should have met in the prior year, and not the LEA’s actual expenditures.

    All letters may be viewed below:
In a March 13, 2014, letter to the Chief State School Officers, OSEP provided information that the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, signed by President Obama, made the OSEP response to Kathleen Boundy law. Under this provision, if an LEA failed to maintain effort in one fiscal year, the level of effort that the LEA must maintain in the following year is the level of effort that would have been required the last year the LEA met MOE. In essence, in a situation in which an LEA fails MOE compliance, the LEA's maintenance of effort levels are not "re-set." The letter can be viewed here:  Pub. L. No. 113-76, 1238 Stat. 5, 394 (2014)
Notice of Proposed Rule Making to IDEA's MOE Regulations
Recorded Webinar on DPI's Comments to OSER's Proposed MOE Rulemaking

​Document links to Proposed Rules



  • Questions on IDEA Maintenance of Effort may be directed to Rachel Zellmer.

Further questions regarding IDEA Flow-through and Preschool Entitlement budgets should be directed to the DPI special education consultant assigned to the district. A listing of consultant assignments can be located at contact.