Today, President Obama released his fiscal year 2014 budget which proposes to increase spending on education programs by 4.5% and repeals the devastating, automatic across-the-board cuts known as sequestration which stripped over $600 million from special education programs.
While the President’s proposal increases the overall investment in education, funding levels for special education programs would largely remain the same as pre-sequestration funding amounts with a few important exceptions (see full list of programs below). Funding for IDEA represents 18% of the president’s education budget request.
- IDEA’s grants to states programs for school aged children would be level funded at $11.6 billion,
- IDEA’s infants and toddlers with disabilities program would be increased by $20 million to $462.7 million,
- IDEA’s preschool program would be level funded at $372.6 million,
- IDEA’s state personnel development grants would be increased by $1.1 million to $45 million,
- IDEA’s personnel preparation grants would be decreased by $2.5 million to $85.8 million,
- IDEA’s technical assistance and dissemination grants would be level funded at $46.8 million,
- IDEA’s parent information centers would be level funded at $28.9 million,
- IDEA’s educational technology, media, and materials would be level funded at $29.6 million,
- Special education research would be increased by $10 million to $59.9 million,
- Special education studies and evaluations would be level funded at $11.4 million.
*It is important to note that these funding comparisons do not take into account the over 5% across-the-board cut imposed by sequestration. These figures come directly from the U.S. Department of Education’s budget materials.
While there are aspects of the President’s budget that CEC commends – such as the elimination of sequestration, increases to IDEA’s early intervention and special education research programs – we are greatly concerned that there wasn’t a greater investment in all IDEA programs. School districts rely on a healthy federal investment in special education to support the implementation of services and supports for students with disabilities. Unfortunately, the President’s proposal does little to fulfill the federal government’s commitment to fully funding IDEA established in 1975 and never met. CEC will continue to actively advocate to increase funding for all IDEA programs. If you would like to help us advocate, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org – we need a strong collective voice!!
Other highlights of the President’s proposal include:
- Preschool for All: A new early learning initiative in which the president is proposing $75 billion in over 10 years to provide high-quality, full-day preschool to all 4-year-olds from families whose incomes are at or below 200 percent of the poverty line; with an additional $750 million would be dedicated to states to help build capacity for implementing such programs. This program would be paid for by increasing the tobacco tax.
- Reducing School and Community Violence: To compliment the President’s Now is the Time proposal, which was created in response to the tragedy in Newtown, the budget proposal includes: $30 million for emergency management grants, $50 million for school climate transformation grants, and $25 million for project prevention grants, a new initiative that would enable school districts with high levels of violence to provide social and emotional supports and mental health services.
- High School Redesign: This new initiative proposes $300 million for a competitive grant program to support partnerships between school districts, institutions of higher education, and business, industry, nonprofits and community-based organizations to redesign high schools.
- STEM Initiatives: The President is proposing several new initiatives to address the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) including $150 million for STEM Innovation Networks to support STEM educators, $80 million for STEM Teacher Pathways to prepare 100,000 new STEM teachers, and $35 million for STEM Master Teacher Corps.
It is important to note that the President’s budget proposal is not law and is simply an illustration of the Administration’s priorities. The budget and appropriations process is now underway in Congress and will continue in the months to come. Stay tuned for updated information!