AASA Applauds Long Awaited GAO Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
James Minichello
703-875-0723
703-774-6953 (cell)
jminichello@aasa.org

Alexandria, Va. – Oct. 19, 2015 – As we approach the 40th anniversary of the enactment of legislation known today as the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, applauds a new federal report that touches on a key provision in IDEA, known as “maintenance of effort.” Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, issued the following statement today following the release of the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s report investigating the problems school districts experience when trying to comply with this provision. The provision is intended to ensure education funding is cut as little as possible and that federal funding does not take the place of other financial resources that would be coming from states and local districts.

“Given that federal funding for IDEA is down $579 million since 2010 and at least 30 states are providing less funding per student for the current school year than prior to the recession, AASA believes federal policy must empower local leaders to ‘do more with less.’

“This important report highlights the need for amending the IDEA maintenance of effort provisions to provide more flexibility to districts, which is why we urge Congress to pass the BOLD (Building on Local District) Flexibility in the IDEA Act. This bill provides districts with the option of realizing savings in their local special education expenditures when they find more efficient ways of providing high-quality services and programs for students with disabilities. 

“The GAO report underscores the obligation that district leaders have to leverage local education funding in a manner that best serves the maximum number of students. IDEA must provide districts with the flexibility to ensure they are not wrongly penalized for changes in their special education funding levels that in no way impact the provision of special education to students with disabilities.”

The GAO report, which was requested by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate HELP Committee, highlights that while the overall rate of noncompliance with IDEA’s maintenance of effort requirement is rather low, many districts across the country are struggling to maintain funding levels.

For specific questions about the GAO report, please contact Sasha Pudelski, AASA assistant director, policy and advocacy, at spudelski@aasa.org.

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About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.