Huffman presses Congress for special education funding

July 12, 2023

A new bill to approve full federal funding for special education advanced by Marin Rep. Jared Huffman would help children in the county with special needs and free up school districts’ budgets for other programs, the county’s top education official said this week.

“The historic underfunding of the IDEA has a major impact on local educational agency budgets,” said John Carroll, Marin superintendent of schools, referring to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, first passed by Congress in 1975.

“This in turn impacts the ability to provide educational programming and services to all students,” Carroll stated. The act calls for the federal government to pay 40% of the per-pupil cost for special education programs. But since 1975, the government “has never lived up to the full promise” of IDEA, according to Huffman.

On Monday, the congressman reintroduced the bill along with Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen. The IDEA Full Funding Act bill is co-sponsored by more than 20 senators and over 60 House members. Huffman, a San Rafael Democrat, has championed the legislation since he first came to Congress in 2013, according to a statement from his office.

In the fiscal year 2023 appropriations package, Huffman was able to secure special education funding increases for children with disabilities by providing $14.2 billion for IDEA grants to all states, an increase of $850 million, or 6% above the fiscal year 2022 enacted level.

It’s progress, but not close to full funding of IDEA, Huffman said.


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By:  Keri Brenner
Source: Marin Independent Journal