Pinch yourself – the unthinkable has happened: House and Senate Republican and Democratic leaders have come to an agreement.
Last night, in a rebuke of sequestration and the sweeping funding cuts it mandated, lawmakers on Capitol Hill unveiled a bipartisan $1.1 Trillion federal funding bill, which contains numerous CEC supported investments in special and gifted education programs, including:
- $500 Million increase in IDEA’s program for school-aged children;
- $19 Million increase in IDEA’s infants and toddlers with disabilities program;
- $7.6 Million increase in IDEA’s technical assistance and dissemination program (this funding will be used to support Special Olympics);
- $7 Million increase for IDEA’s parent information centers;
- $6.7 Million increase for research in special education;
- $5 Million for the Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act which has not been funded since 2011.
For the last year, school districts across the county have been reeling from budget cuts caused by sequestration, which slashed special education by over $600 million. This about-face will help schools across the nation fix some of the damage caused by sequestration.
These gains are particularly notable considering the polarizing fiscal climate on Capitol Hill which resulted in a 16-day shutdown of the federal government last fall. While CEC recognizes that a far greater investment is necessary to adequately fund all IDEA programs – particularly key programs not receiving increases this year: IDEA’s preschool and personnel preparation programs, among others – the FY 2014 federal funding bill represents a positive step for students, families and educators.
CEC, together with its members, have come out in full force advocating for a greater investment in special and gifted education programs, sharing stories about how children and youth with exceptionalities have been impacted by federal austerity measures. Thank you for sharing your story – clearly, it’s made a difference!
Congress is expected to vote on the FY 2014 funding bill – also known as the omnibus – in the coming days before it will be sent to President Obama for his signature. And, in just a few weeks, President Obama is expected to release his FY 2015 budget proposal, marking the beginning of another federal funding cycle.
Join our advocacy efforts to support an even greater investment in special, gifted education by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org