American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

U.S. House Education Committee Leaders Request More Funding for IDEA

(May 2, 2014)

On April 29, 2014, Representatives John Kline (R-MN), chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee (E and W), Todd Rokita (R-IN), chair of the Early Childhood Education Subcommittee, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), chair of the House Republican Conference, and Pete Sessions (R-TX), chair of the Committee on Rules, sent a formal letter to the House Appropriations Committee requesting an additional $1.5 billion in funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). If their request is accepted, the federal share of special education funding would increase from the current 16% to 18% for fiscal year 2015 and school year 2015–2016.

Background

In the 1970s, Congress committed to fully funding IDEA. Congress reaffirmed that commitment in 2004 when it reauthorized IDEA and President George W. Bush signed it into law. However, as of fiscal year 2014, current federal funding has shrunk to just over 16%. This forces states and local governments to shoulder the remaining 84% of the costs while complying with the many mandates in IDEA. For ASHA's school-based members, this situation results in larger caseloads, enormous paperwork burdens, little in-school support, uncompensated work after school hours, and limited or no time for collaboration, planning, or professional development.

The request is of importance for many reasons. First, the authorizing committee (E and W) and subcommittee chairs and two other leaders authored the letter. Second, it is a rare education funding increase request from senior and powerful members of the Republican majority in the House. Third, the letter does not ask for funding cuts or tax increases to pay for the increase.

The House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education will consider this request as they put together their FY2015 funding bill. The fiscal year ends on September 30, 2014; it is not expected that a new funding bill will be passed into law by then. Final FY2015 funding should be completed after the elections in November.

Resources

For more information about this funding request, please contact Neil Snyder, ASHA's director of federal advocacy, at nsnyder@asha.org or 800-498-2071, ext. 5614. Additional information can be found on the House Education and the Workforce's website [PDF]. The Committee also produced some supporting funding graphs and charts [PDF].


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