U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) has requested additional funding for Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
IDEA Part B provides federal support to help states and school districts to improve support services and education access for students with special needs.
Under current law, the federal government is authorized to fund up to 40 percent of the additional cost of educating students with disabilities; unfortunately, federal contributions have never approached that goal, reaching a high of 18.5 percent in FY 2005. Under the Obama administration, federal support for students with disabilities has steadily declined. The president's FY 2013 budget proposal would drop the funding level to just 15.8 percent.
In a letter to House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Chairman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chairman Kline urges the subcommittee to increase IDEA Part B funding, noting previous efforts to do so:
Under your leadership, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies proposed a $1.2 billion increase for IDEA Part B in FY 2012, which would have increased the federal contribution to more than 17 percent. Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate and the Obama administration elected instead to dedicate these funds toward pet projects, unauthorized programs, or programs with no track record for success, such as Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, School Improvement Grants, and Striving Readers, among others.
As our nation struggles with trillion-dollar deficits and debt that has eclipsed the size of the entire U.S. economy, difficult choices must be made. We must stop wasting taxpayer dollars on new and ineffective programs and instead work toward meeting our basic obligation to support students with disabilities and ensure these students are prepared for success after high school.