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
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.
For more information about this funding request, please
contact Neil Snyder, ASHA's director of federal advocacy, at [email protected] 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
graphs and charts [PDF].