13 National Education Organizations Submit Letter of Support for Harkin IDEA Full Funding Bill

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Earlier today, AASA was pleased to join 12 other national education organizations to support Senator Harkin's IDEA Full Funding Act, set for introduction today.

Since its inception, IDEA has protected students with disabilities by ensuring access to a free and appropriate public education. The original statute included a Congressional promise to pay 40 percent of the National Average per Pupil Expenditure. While special education funding has received significant increases over the past fifteen years, including the one-time infusion of IDEA dollars in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, funding has leveled off recently and even been cut. Federal funding has never come close to reaching the promised 40%, causing states and local school districts to find ways to pay for needed services. Many times, this means using local budget dollars to cover the federal shortfall, at the direct expense of local district needs and expenditures, and/or increasing local taxes, which is an especially high burden in times of fiscal austerity and uncertainty.  

The number of students with disabilities has increased more than 25 percent over the last 20 years, a growth that federal funding has struggled to support. In fact, for FY14 (the 2014-15 school year), the federal share for IDEA is 15.8%, less than half of the Congressional commitment to students with special needs. Our reality is that we remain committed to Congress meeting its commitment to fund 40% of the additional costs.

Read the full letter.

AASA was joined by

  • American Federation of Teachers
  • American Speech Language Hearing Association
  • Association of Educational Service Agencies
  • Council of Great City Schools
  • Council for Exceptional Children
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals
  • National Association of State Directors of Special Education
  • National Education Association
  • National School Boards Association
  • National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition
  • National Rural Education Association

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