(c) Local educational agency high cost fund.
(1) In general--
(i) For the purpose of assisting LEAs (including a charter school that is an LEA or a consortium of LEAs) in addressing the needs of high need children with disabilities, each State has the option to reserve for each fiscal year 10 percent of the amount of funds the State reserves for other State-level activities under paragraph (b)(1) of this section--
(A) To finance and make disbursements from the high cost fund to LEAs in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section during the first and succeeding fiscal years of the high cost fund; and
(B) To support innovative and effective ways of cost sharing by the State, by an LEA, or among a consortium of LEAs, as determined by the State in coordination with representatives from LEAs, subject to paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section.
(ii) For purposes of paragraph (c) of this section, local educational agency includes a charter school that is an LEA, or a consortium of LEAs.
(i) A State must not use any of the funds the State reserves pursuant to paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section, which are solely for disbursement to LEAs, for costs associated with establishing, supporting, and otherwise administering the fund. The State may use funds the State reserves under paragraph (a) of this section for those administrative costs.
(ii) A State must not use more than 5 percent of the funds the State reserves pursuant to paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section for each fiscal year to support innovative and effective ways of cost sharing among consortia of LEAs.
(i) The SEA must develop, not later than 90 days after the State reserves funds under paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section, annually review, and amend as necessary, a State plan for the high cost fund. Such State plan must--
(A) Establish, in consultation and coordination with representatives from LEAs, a definition of a high need child with a disability that, at a minimum--
(1) Addresses the financial impact a high need child with a disability has on the budget of the child's LEA; and
(2) Ensures that the cost of the high need child with a disability is greater than 3 times the average per pupil expenditure (as defined in section 9101 of the ESEA) in that State;
(B) Establish eligibility criteria for the participation of an LEA that, at a minimum, take into account the number and percentage of high need children with disabilities served by an LEA;
(C) Establish criteria to ensure that placements supported by the fund are consistent with the requirements of Sec. Sec. 300.114 through 300.118;
(D) Develop a funding mechanism that provides distributions each fiscal year to LEAs that meet the criteria developed by the State under paragraph(c)(3)(i)(B) of this section;
(E) Establish an annual schedule by which the SEA must make its distributions from the high cost fund each fiscal year; and
(F) If the State elects to reserve funds for supporting innovative and effective ways of cost sharing under paragraph (c)(1)(i)(B) of this section, describe how these funds will be used.
(ii) The State must make its final State plan available to the public not less than 30 days before the beginning of the school year, including dissemination of such information on the State Web site.
(i) Each SEA must make all annual disbursements from the high cost fund established under paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section in accordance with the State plan published pursuant to paragraph (c)(3) of this section.
(ii) The costs associated with educating a high need child with a disability, as defined under paragraph (c)(3)(i)(A) of this section, are only those costs associated with providing direct special education and related services to the child that are identified in that child's IEP, including the cost of room and board for a residential placement determined necessary, consistent with Sec. 300.114, to implement a child's IEP.
(iii) The funds in the high cost fund remain under the control of the State until disbursed to an LEA to support a specific child who qualifies under the State plan for the high cost funds or distributed to LEAs, consistent with paragraph (c)(9) of this section.
(5) The disbursements under paragraph (c)(4) of this section must not be used to support legal fees, court costs, or other costs associated with a cause of action brought on behalf of a child with a disability to ensure FAPE for such child.
(6) Nothing in paragraph (c) of this section--
(i) Limits or conditions the right of a child with a disability who is assisted under Part B of the Act to receive FAPE pursuant to section 612(a)(1) of the Act in the least restrictive environment pursuant to section 612(a)(5) of the Act; or
(ii) Authorizes an SEA or LEA to establish a limit on what may be spent on the education of a child with a disability.
(7) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (c)(1) through (6) of this section, a State may use funds reserved pursuant to paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section for implementing a placement neutral cost sharing and reimbursement program of high need, low incidence, catastrophic, or extraordinary aid to LEAs that provides services to high need children based on eligibility criteria for such programs that were created not later than January 1, 2004, and are currently in operation, if such program serves children that meet the requirement of the definition of a high need child with a disability as described in paragraph (c)(3)(i)(A) of this section.
(8) Disbursements provided under paragraph (c) of this section must not be used to pay costs that otherwise would be reimbursed as medical assistance for a child with a disability under the State Medicaid program under Title XIX of the Social Security Act.
(9) Funds reserved under paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section from the appropriation for any fiscal year, but not expended pursuant to paragraph (c)(4) of this section before the beginning of their last year of availability for obligation, must be allocated to LEAs in the same manner as other funds from the appropriation for that fiscal year are allocated to LEAs under Sec. 300.705 during their final year of availability.