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Rep. Phillips Helps to Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Fully Fund Special Education

Rep. Dean Phillips today joined Reps. Jared Huffman (D-CA), John Katko (R-NY), Joe Neguse (D-CO), David McKinley (R-WV), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Glen Thompson (R-PA), and Sens, Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Pat Roberts (R-KS), in introducing the IDEA Full Funding Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed in 1975 to give children with disabilities equal access and opportunity in their education. The bipartisan IDEA Full Funding Act would make good on Congress’s promise to fully fund IDEA after 40 years of failing to do so.

“In America, the promise of quality public education should be extended to all children,” said Rep. Phillips. “For 40 years, students and schools have waited as Congress failed to deliver on this unfunded mandate. I urge more of my colleagues in both chambers and parties to join me in supporting the IDEA Full Funding Act to relieve financial burden from families and schools and to ensure a world class education for all students.”

The 1975 IDEA legislation committed the federal government to funding 40 percent of the average per pupil cost for special education. That pledge has never been met. Current funding is at just 14.7 percent, which places financial burden on families, school districts and local governments already facing tight education budgets. The IDEA Full Funding Act increases IDEA spending incrementally until the 40 percent funding threshold is met.

In the House of Representatives, original cosponsors of the IDEA Full Funding Act include Representatives Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Jeremy McNerney (D-CA), Terri A Sewell (D-AL), Angie Craig (D-MN), and Pete Stauber (R-MN). The legislation is supported by the American Federation of Teachers, the American School Superintendents Association and the National School Board Association.