Lawmakers Look To Fully Fund IDEA
Bipartisan legislation to substantially increase Uncle Sam’s investment in special education is back on the table.
Federal funding for educating students with disabilities would gradually increase under a bill known as the IDEA Full Funding Act, which was introduced by lawmakers in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives late last month.
The measure calls for incremental hikes in federal funding for special education, with the government taking on 40 percent of the cost — a level known as “full funding” — beginning in fiscal year 2029.
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When the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was passed in 1975, Congress committed to paying 40 percent of the associated price tag. However, that has never happened and today the federal government is footing just 14.7 percent of the cost of special education, according to lawmakers behind the new legislation.
“Because the federal government has failed to honor its IDEA funding promise, K-12 schools and school districts throughout America have been forced to pay more than their fair share,” said Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., who introduced the measure, H.R.1878. “That means less funding for everything from teacher pay to class size to affording music, art and physical education classes. That’s why the bipartisan IDEA Full Funding Act to finally honor the IDEA promise is probably the most significant thing the federal government can do to support K-12 schools.”
In addition to Huffman, the House bill is backed by Reps. John Katko, R-N.Y., Joe Neguse, D-Colo., David McKinley, R-W.Va., Dean Phillips, D-Minn., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., and Glen Thompson, R-Pa. A companion bill, S.866, was introduced by Sens. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Pat Roberts, R-Kan.
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