Friday, February 18, 2011
Special Education Budget Blues
Image via Wikipedia
If you understand the federal government budget process, you could probably be qualified as an expert witness. The budget process is a minefield of procedural maneuvers and confusing beyond description.In a nutshell, the Congress passed a continuing resolution funding the government, including special education monies, through March 4, 2011. The Congress must now pass another continuing resolution until the end of the fiscal year, September 30th. The Council for Exceptional Children has a good summary of the budget process here.
President Obama presented a proposed budget which would have increased special education funding by $250 million directly as well as other increases for general education. The president's budget proposal is the first step in the convoluted process. The full budget proposal is available as well as other related resources at the previous link.
Congressional Republicans countered with a budget bill that would have reduced IDEA spending by $557 Million. Here is another summary.
The full House of Representatives amended the bill and restored the $557 Million cut. This bill would fund 2011 special education at the same level as 2010. The severe cuts to general education remain in this bill. Here is a summary by Disability Scoop.
But the process is not done yet. There is much more to come! The U S Senate now gets its chance. Look for some fireworks here.
If you have an opinion on special education funding, and I would guess that almost all of the readers of this blog likely do, please call your Senators and advocate for your position. Now would be a good time!
This process is making me very nervous. I hope that special education does not become another thing that this country is divided about. Don't we have enough of those already?