Few Dyslexic Students Benefiting From an Online Tool That's Costing Texas Millions

State says service will help thousands, but advocates believe money could be better spent

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When the first invoice for a new special education tool arrived this past fall, accounting officials at the Texas Education Agency questioned what exactly the state was being billed for and whether they should process the payment.

The charge marked the first installment in an emergency contract between the state and Maryland-based education company AmplioSpeech that could cost taxpayers up to $6.9 million the first year. The company was brought in to create a virtual program that allows dyslexic students to receive help during the pandemic.

Agency accountants traded emails, asking why the company’s invoice did not include the number of students it served. They reached out to Matthew Montaño, the deputy commissioner over special education, with questions about the contract’s structure.

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