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Steep Cuts To Special Education, Disability Programs Loom


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The White House is warning that special education will face more than $1 billion in cuts and millions more will be trimmed from other federal programs for people with disabilities next year unless lawmakers act.

In a report sent to Congress Friday, the Obama administration painted a stark picture of what’s to come, detailing the impact of more than $100 billion in automatic spending cuts that are scheduled to take effect Jan. 2.

The funding reductions were triggered after lawmakers failed to reach a budget deal last year. As a result, most federal programs will be slashed by at least 8.2 percent.

That means that more than $1 billion will be chopped from special education, the White House said. Meanwhile, housing for people with disabilities will be reduced by $14 million and the U.S. Department of Labor’s office focusing on disability employment will be cut by $3 million.

Research into developmental disabilities could also be impacted with the National Institutes of Health facing a $2.5 billion loss.

Social Security and Medicaid, however, are expected to remain largely unaffected.

The 394-page White House report said the cuts would be “deeply destructive” and indicated that the reductions to education spending would mean that “children with disabilities would suffer.”

While concern about the scheduled spending reductions is widespread, it’s not likely that Congress will take any action until after the November election.

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Comments (15 Responses)

  1. Laurie says:

    Let’s hope and pray that each party will quit making their main objective to “beat'” and always disagree with the other party and instead work together for the good of our nation and our children and loved ones with disabilities.

  2. FELICIA A . MUNFORD says:

    It’s ashamed what society has become & that people with an disability would be the one greatly affected by these cuts. It just not fair to them,instead of cutting money from the budget for special needs people,let the rich get taxed even more they can afford it.

  3. gloria derosa says:

    hmmm. the disabled must be part of that lazy 47% who just expect a government handout (heavy sarcasm)

  4. Kurc says:

    Here’s a thought – speaking as a parent of a young adult with a developmental disability and having been on several boards of different agencies at different government levels: anytime I see the reference to a national agency doing research with a broad descriptor to what that research is – I see a $200 dollar hammer looming. Maybe age has made me more cynical of late, but so many times I’ve seen inter-agency duplication with resulting waste, agencies competing for the same dollar serving the same client, more money spent on research than actual delivery of service – it just screams for some reform. And this in an arena that has barely started to pay heed to the need of individuals with special needs. I think if everyone with a disability were given a bank card with no spending limit, was able to actually source a selection of services to meet their needs, accessed such service, documented and shared the results for those yet to need such service [daresay, this itself could be thought of as research??] – we would save untold countless amounts of tax dollars. Hell, the politician/bureaucrat that would come up with such a solution would be considered a hero. We are losing faith with not only our politicians, but the service agencies and so call advocacy groups that are empowered to represent our interests, needs and concerns. Now what!!!!????

  5. Kathleen Allgood says:

    How can lawmakers be held accountable, as they propose for educators and students, to do their jobs on time? What other job/career gets away with “not getting it done” in a reasonable & timely manner?
    The subsequent neglect of legally authorized programs is being held together by the personal resources, funds & backbones of educators and supportive families. NO other business would get away with this? If they cannot get their jobs done by the date due, then perhaps someone else should be offered this opportunity? Education is in crises & special education programs are imploding with these on-going fiscal reductions!

  6. Timothy says:

    Disgraceful! This is outragous that the government would play politics with the lives of our loved ones like this. Washingotn should be ashamed of itself for this failure. Where are the real priorities?

  7. Ashley says:

    From the report: “The estimates and classifications in the report are preliminary. If the sequestration were to occur, the actual results would differ based on changes in law and ongoing legal, budgetary, and technical analysis. However, the report leaves no question that the sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments, and core government functions. Under the assumptions required by the STA, the sequestration would result in a 9.4 percent reduction in non-exempt defense discretionary funding and an 8.2 percent reduction in non-exempt nondefense discretionary funding. The sequestration would also impose cuts of 2.0 percent to Medicare, 7.6 percent to other non-exempt nondefense mandatory programs, and 10.0 percent to non-exempt defense mandatory programs.”

  8. Cheryl Pullen says:

    If students with disabilities do not get the educational services they need, it will be more challenging for them to become taxpaying contributors to society in the future. Not only the students, but also society, will suffer.

  9. Daniel says:

    We need to do more than just ” hope and pray that each party will quit making their main objective to “beat’” and always disagree with the other party and instead work together ” as Laurie suggests. We need to take action on this. If we sit back and do nothing, nothing will be done.

    We all need to contact or elected officials on this; write, call, e-mail do everything we can to make them aware of the severe consequences this will have. If you don’t know how to get in touch with your elected officials, you can find out how on this government site:

  10. Susan Ford Keller says:

    Folks, all is well. Nothing to worry about. Obama has thoughtfully already started releasing states from adhering to NCLB….The states won’t need to meet NCLB standards just in time for all these budget cuts. That’s our government at work!!! Maybe my son can sell pencils on a street corner when he grows up…

  11. Lee says:

    Good! They need to do away with the Deparment of Education while they are at it and give the local school boards the control they need. The only thing the DOE is good for is publishing statistics on how bad we fail in education. And, for the record, I am speaking as a parent of a developmentally delayed 9-year old girl.

  12. Carrie Pfeiffer-Fiala says:

    Cuts? At this time and age? I wonder when or if the funding stream will take into account the evidence base? As schools struggle to implement the Common Core Standards for the “typical” student how are we going to meet the needs of the student with disabilities? Less funding at this critical time in our history is an incredulous mistake. One that every educator, every parent, and every citizen should realize will undermine and set back the current efforts of educational reform.

  13. Laura says:

    Actually, it has not been all of Congress, only one side that has been blocking everything. Check the filibuster record for the last 3 years. And yeah, I would say that most with disabilities are in the 47%. Obviously the side that has been blocking everything doesn’t really care. And NCLB pretty much left all children behind. The idea that all children are the same is ridiculous. As ridiculous as testing SPED kids the same as gen ed kids.

  14. de says:

    As usual, our children in this country and many others, are the bottom of the barrel to consider. What a horrible state of being when you make cuts to the very programs that can actually be life or death to our kids. No education income..Gov’t dependency..keep them uneducated and unimportant and we can use them also..and what about all the funding for programs nobody ever heard of or cares about. Every congress and senate member should spend one week witha challenged child and see what they face just getting up in the morning and getting to school…and how dedicated they are to learning and to work..WoW….sad statement for U.S. you know!

  15. Chandra Chauhan says:

    Why aren’t all the Obama supporters jumping down his throat for this move??? I guess this is change too..

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