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Special Education Could Face $2 Billion In Cuts


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As a new round of budget talks gets underway in Congress, special education advocates are sounding the alarm about big cuts that may be on the horizon.

Preliminary figures from the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations indicate that education programs could be slashed by nearly 20 percent for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, partly as a result of the sequester, the across-the-board spending cuts that took effect in March.

Though detailed proposals have yet to be released, the Council for Exceptional Children — which lobbies on behalf of special educators — is estimating that such cuts would mean more than $2 billion less for programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

“When you see these figures in black and white, it’s pretty stunning,” said Lindsay Jones, senior director for policy and advocacy at CEC. “I don’t know how (schools) could withstand it.”

The level of cutbacks proposed is drawing concern from the broader education community.

In a letter to lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee last week, 10 education groups including the National Education Association and the National School Boards Association banded together to ask the panel to reject what they called “devastating cuts.”

“These extreme cuts in funding to all education programs will hurt all students, and many of those with disabilities will be hurt twice and three times over because of the across-the-board cuts to education programs,” they wrote.

Meanwhile, Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who chairs the House education committee, wrote to his colleagues to ask that they support an increase in federal funding for special education programs.

So far, no figures have been released from the U.S. Senate and CEC’s Jones said she expects the two panels’ proposals to be far apart, which may mean significant negotiations lie ahead.

“We’re extremely worried,” she said.

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Comments (9 Responses)

  1. Reb Hil says:

    Things like this are bound to happen. We have a very tight budget to maintain. I think it would be a lot better if we didn’t cut Special Education spending. They deserve a very bright future and they need a lot more from their education. I think $2 billion cuts are ridiculous! That’s just way too much taken away from children who need a lot more than we do.

  2. Maria Plunkett says:

    Instead of making cuts to the disabled why not make inquiries into how funds delegated to the Special Education poplulation are used. Start not with the DOE districts, but with the parents, guardians and caregivers of these students. I’m sure they can provide more accurate information than what the districts put on paper. There is such fraud and abuse of funds that is not reported. I could share so many stories of fraud and abuse of appropiation of funds that were misdirected in my own son’s situation. I have written to the mayor and the Chancelor many times about wasteful spending and it’s affect on the less fortunate. There is a situation going on right now regarding my son’s district paying agencies to supply paras and therapists that are not even trained in a child’s special needs and mandated on their IEP instead of giving out Independent RSA’s to the trained personnel already working with our children. These people have the appropiate training and have been working with our children for a long time. What can the DOE be thinking spending the extra money to private agencies who don’t have experienced workers instead of giving it to the professionals. Not only is this a direct violation of a child’s mandate, but it causes more expense for the parents to file for Impartials .Another waste of funds, when the right thing should have been done in the first place. The Impartial Hearings come out of the DOE finances paying for the Hearing Officers, Attorneys, transcribers etc. All these added expenses are taking away from a disabled child’s FAPE.

    The DOE never seems to be questioned where the money is going. The parents and caregivers know. Just ask them. I would be very happy to share my history alone regarding abuse of funds.

  3. Joseph Branske says:

    The Administration can okay the President $250,000,000.00 to the Muslim Brotherhood, and airplanes, and tanks; they can okay Obama care, cuts in social security, Medicare/Medicaid, downgrade the military, send the President on extravagant vacations and golf tours, and allow him to throw expensive parties. Yet people are homeless, hungry, having their lives demeaned and degraded. Now you want to take away one of the few things our disabled have to look forward to in their futures. How ignorant does someone have to be, how uneducated and selfish? Think twice before you consider this extreme development.

  4. Whitney says:

    Joseph these are same parties that Bush attend too. The cuts are on both parties favorite projects. If Congress didn’t act like three old spoil brats who happen to throw tantrums without clue how to govern and economics. Then may be this didn’t have to happen.

  5. 2onthespectrum says:

    Please contact your representatives and senators! The cuts aren’t a done deal yet. If we could just get the community together to make some noise, you would be surprised at what results you can get. If everyone with a child in special education would take action, congress would not dare make this cut.

  6. Heather says:

    “The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.”
    – Franklin D. Roosevelt

    Sad what this country is coming to……

  7. Nicki says:

    It unfortunate to see the massive cutbacks that are occurring within our education system. Does anybody know the yearly budget for special education currently? 2 Billion dollars seems like a drastic cut.

  8. kelly says:

    Scrapping the “voluntary,” “rigorous” Common Core State Standards would be a fantastic blessing for freedom, budgets, special education, parental rights and input!

  9. Krista B says:

    Cuts to education always hurt the ones we should be focusing on the most, the students. When governments target special education with cuts, the future of deserving students is in jeopardy.

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