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Thursday, January 29, 2015

IDEA Full Funding Reintroduction

A January 27 release from Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD):
Today Congressmen Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), David McKinley (R-WV), Tim Walz (D-MN), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Jared Huffman (D-CA), and Dave Reichert (R-WA) reintroduced the bipartisan IDEA Full Funding Act. In 1975, Congress took the critical step of passing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), providing a promise that every child with disabilities would have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. At that time, the federal government committed to pay 40 percent of the average per pupil expenditure for special education. However, that pledge has never been met, and current funding is at just 16.1 percent. The IDEA Full Funding Act would require regular increases in IDEA spending to finally meet our commitment to America’s children and schools.
"Our parent community stands ready to support the IDEA Full Funding Act,” stated James H. Wendorf, Executive Director, National Center for Learning Disabilities.

"... We thank Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), David McKinley (R-WV), Tim Walz (D-MN), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Dave Reichert (R-WA) for their leadership in support of students with disabilities,” said Mary Kusler, Director of Government Relations, National Education Association.
“This important federal legislation now before us is vital toward ensuring that our nation honors its obligation to students with disabilities,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director, National School Boards Association. “NSBA fully supports the IDEA Full Funding Act, and applauds its focus on creating a long-term, 10-year plan that will adequately fund the federal share of costs for special education. Improving educational outcomes and raising student achievement for students with disabilities is crucial.”
AASA Executive Director, Daniel Domenech said, “Full funding of IDEA remains AASA’s top legislative priority..."
Christina Samuels reports at Education Week:
Previous versions of this bill have not passed (including a bill introduced last year by the same group of congressmen) but this time around, supporters have a stated advocate in Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House education committee. In an interview with Education Weeklast year, Kline said that more money for special education was a priority for him. At that time, he said that he would like to see the federal government reach the 40 percent bar sometime in the next three to five years.
"I think we can set it on path," Kline said back in March. "That will be a good debate to have."
Bills with a prime sponsor from the minority party have little chance of passing the House, and Kline did not specifically commit to move this bill.  The prime sponsor of the Senate companion (S. 130), David Vitter R-LA, is from that chamber's majority party, but is not a member of the committee of jurisdiction.