Monday, February 9, 2009

Breaking News: Sentae Education Cuts Do Not Affect Special Ed

The Senate has passed an amendment cutting some $40 Million of the education funding from the economic stimulus package, but none of the cuts were in special education funding. Here is a chart showing what has and has not been cut. Although the Senate adopted the amendment, it still has to vote on the whole American Recovery and reinvestment Act. The vote is scheduled for Tuesday.

Because the two chambers will have passed different versions of the bill, a conference committee, with members from both chambers, will be appointed to work out the differences. additional press accounts are here and here. The Conference Committee product will be the final bill, and it will be sent to the President.


  1. I've been following this really closely (you may have noticed my rather hysterical--as I realize in retrospect--facebook status updates on Friday). I was glad that they put the half of the IDEA money back (at one point a proposal was reported that halved it). But my worry is that without the $40M of state money, they won't be able to achieve MOE. And if they can't achieve MOE, they'll have to give waivers on MOE (which the senate version seems to allow), and if they give waivers on MOE, SPED programs like the one in my city won't see a red cent of that IDEA stimulus money.

    On Wednesday last week, I actually had the rather emblematic experience of being told in the morning at an IEP meeting by the SPED director that he couldn't approve two recommendations from an evaluation because of budget concerns (I know this isn't how it's supposed to work). Then that evening I went to a city forum on the budget and heard the mayor say that she was glad that the IDEA stimulus money didn't have to be used for SPED since "the town pays for SPED already." Erm.

    So, as you might imagine, I'm worried. Is the IDEA money going to go to pay for snow and ice removal? Or maybe for reorganizing the BSEA! ;) What I'd like is for it to go to pay for the programming my son desperately needs, and that I keep being told the city can't afford.

  2. Jim,
    I think you meant 40 billion, not 40 million.

  3. Thanks for your thoughts M.C.,

    I hear your concern. But even if maintenance of effort requirements are relaxed, I believe that the IDEA funds will still have to be spent on Special Ed and Related Services. I sure hope I'm right.


  4. Jeremy,

    You're right.

    As old Sen. Dirksen used to say a million dollars here, a million dollars there and pretty soon, you're talking about a lot of money!

    I guess a million is a drop in the bucket these days!