Special Ed Programs Maintain Funding

With another budget showdown averted at the last minute, Congress voted to maintain current spending for students with disabilities in the coming budget year. For many Special Education advocates this is considered a win.

Noting the general belt-tightening environment in Washington, Jennifer Dexter, an executive at Easter Seals told Disability Scoop, “Most of the programs that we track that support people with disabilities got level funding which we continue to say in this environment is a victory.”

Others are not so sure. Annie Acosta, director of fiscal and family support for The Arc, claims that these funding levels do not even keep pace with inflation, and therefore, are actually a loss. Under the new budget, which funds most programs through Sept 2015, states will divvy up a mere $25 million more in IDEA funding—an insignificant increase that will be offset by inflation. Says Acosta, “Even when you have level funding, you’re losing money every year if you’re not keeping pace with inflation.”

And no one thinks that funding for Special Education will ease up anytime soon. In fact, many are already gearing up for a showdown in 2016, that Dexter believes will be a difficult year. “The reality is we’re not anywhere close to what the need is. This continued austerity is going to be a struggle for people with disabilities.”