Congress has until September 30 to pass a budget, otherwise the Federal Government runs out of money, and some agencies may have to shut down. The Senate already passed an education bill that includes $13.3 billion of special education funding, including a $125 million increase over last year. That is less than $20 more for each of the 6.5 million US students identified as having a disability, but better than the freezes or cuts we have seen in recent budgets. While this budget is substantial below where it should be according to longstanding Congressional promises, it is still a small step forward.
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When the first federal special education bill was passed Congress promised states and local schools that they would provide 40% of the additional cost for special education, but the federal share has have never risen above 15%. This bill is approximately 13% of total special education spending in the US. It is long past time for Congress to provide the funds promised, but never delivered, to students with disabilities and their communities.
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