Gov. Greg Abbott and TEA announced this week that $30 million of federal CARES Act funding would be available to families of some students with disabilities to use for supplemental services to offset pandemic-related learning disruptions.
According to TEA’s Supplemental Special Education Services FAQ up to 20,000 online accounts of up to $1,500 per student will be available to eligible families for payment to TEA-approved vendors for qualified services, including private tutoring, educational services and therapies from a licensed or accredited practitioner (OT, PT, BCBA, SLP, PT), textbooks, curriculum or other instructional materials, and computer hardware, software or other technological devices that are used for educational needs.
Eligible families are those whose students are enrolled in a Texas public school this year (2020-21), were enrolled in a Texas public school during the initial COVID-19 school closures (2019-20), and who have low incidence disabilities (e.g., an intellectual disability, a developmental disability, a visual impairment, hearing loss, a significant physical disability, multiple disabilities, or are on the autistic spectrum).
According to TEA, approved vendors will be paid directly via the online accounts, so that parents will not have to front any costs. TEA plans to open the application window for families in late 2020 for a 4-month window, and families will have until Jan. 31, 2022, to use the accounts for supplemental services.
TEA will also establish a process by which entities that sell eligible goods/services may submit an application to TEA to be considered as a vendor for the SSES account. According to TEA, public school teachers may provide tutoring for payment from an SSES account if they must work under the umbrella of a pre-approved tutoring company or nonprofit in the SSES marketplace.