School districts are worried about how proposed changes in Medicaid distributions will affect their funding. Administrators say any reduction in the estimated $4 billion schools receive in annual Medicaid reimbursements would be hard to absorb. Such cutbacks would come after years of reduced state funding and a weakened tax base.
In Michigan, the Wayne County Regional Education Service Agency covers about 21,000 children with special needs who are on Medicaid. It helps districts recoup about $30 million annually in reimbursements. The agency's superintendent, Randy Liepa, says that if Medicaid money is reduced, "something's going to go away."
The executive director of the National School Boards Association, Thomas Gentzel, says districts would have to look at nonmandated positions and programs if forced to bear more of the costs for services.