State officials have settled a longstanding lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Education following charges that the State Department of Education “submitted false claims for payment” by misrepresenting the number of children that qualified for special education services.

The settlement requires the state pay the federal government $4.5 million.

The settlement resolves overpayment by the federal government to the state for the cost of providing special education services for children of migrant workers who are challenged by frequent disruptions in schooling. A spokeswoman for the state’s Attorney General office, which negotiated the settlement, said the federal payments were used for education services, but some of the children were not eligible for the program.

“Our Office believes the settlement is a fair resolution in the best interest of the state,” said Spokeswoman Susan Kinsman.

Without a settlement, the state could have been required by a judge to repay $15.9 million if it was determined the state was at fault, Attorney General George Jepsen told the Education Committee earlier this month.

Two resolutions await legislative action to finalize the agreement. Settlements that exceed $2.5 million need to be approved by the General Assembly.

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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