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Monday, February 14, 2011

Special Education Cuts

Education Week reports:

House Republican leaders put out a bill Friday night that would slice and dice education funding far below current levels and far below what President Barack Obama wanted in his never-enacted fiscal year 2011 budget request. (List of cuts is here.)

The measure, which would continue federal funding for rest of the fiscal year, takes aim at some programs that were previously considered untouchable, including special education spending and Pell Grants to help low-and-moderate income students pay for college. Overall it would cut $4.9 billion from the U.S. Department of Education's fiscal year 2010 budget of $63.7 billion.

... Special education, which is typically a Republican priority, would be cut by $557 million, below its $11.5 billion funding in fiscal 2010.

Disability Scoop reports:

When a local school board member met with President Barack Obama this week, he pressed for the federal government to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. The president said little in response.

The exchange took place during a White House meeting Tuesday when Edward McCormick, who serves on a school board in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and chairs the National Black Caucus of School Board Members, encouraged the president to meet the federal government’s initial commitment to fund 40 percent of the cost of special education. Traditionally IDEA has been federally funded at less than 20 percent.

“In every community there is a need for IDEA funding and for the government to live up to its 40 percent commitment,” McCormick told Disability Scoop that he said to the president.

In response, Obama was noncommittal. “He thanked me for my comments and nodded his approval,” McCormick said.