It’s official: This month, Oregon asked the U.S. Department of Education to allow it to cut about $15.7 million from its special education budget and not lose the same amount of federal money for students with disabilities—a double hit
The US Federal Government assists schools with special education by contributing about 17% of the costs. If a state were to reduce special education funding, as Oregon is planning, the Federal Government’s contribution would also go down. Say that Oregon cuts $15.7M in special education funding. They would also lose about $2.7M in Federal support. Oregon has asked that they be allowed to cut special ed funding and still keep the Federal contribution.
Beyond the “double financial hit” aspect, the law requires states to maintain a constant or increasing level of Special Education funding. From one of the letters granting a waiver:
Under 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(18)(A) and 34 C.F.R. § 300.163(a), a State must not reduce the amount of State financial support for special education and related services for children with disabilities, or made available because of the excess costs of educating those children, below the amount of that support for the preceding fiscal year.
The Oregon waiver application starts with this paragraph:
New Jersey cut about $52M in special education funding and requested a waiver last September. West Virgina requested a waiver last year and it was granted. Iowa requested a waiver and it was granted.
Certainly we don’t want states to lose even more money for Special Education, but part of the Federal contribution is to encourage states to keep from cutting Special Education.
I fail to see how these states expect to provide the services to their students that parents have fought for- just to get ADEQUATE service- with major budget cuts. Until they can explain it, no waiver.
I don't think they do expect to provide services.
Of course they can't provide adequate services, but the law doesn't require them to do that... it only requires our children receive "some" benefit. That is how our courts consistently define "free and appropriate public education." The law is a huge part of the problem here; and the federal govt has never fufilled its obligation to fund IDEA to 40%.