The U.S. Department of Education plans to punish South Carolina for not spending enough money on special education.
But it will delay the $36.2 million funding cut for at least a year, which education officials said Friday will give them time to prepare. Officials had been concerned the federal penalty would have come this school year.
State department spokesman Jay Ragley said the one-year delay allows an appeal of the decision from South Carolina to be heard and, if necessary, for the state to make its case in court or Congress.
"This gives us a year to exercise our full rights," he said.
The federal agency said in a letter it will reduce South Carolina's federal allocation for students with disabilities on Oct. 1, 2012. The penalty is being imposed because of state cuts in special education in the 2009-2010 school year.