AASA Executive Director Issues Statement on IDEA


James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Alexandria, Va. – June 15, 2017 – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the IDEA Full Funding Act, a legislative proposal that would help Congress realize its commitment to investing in education for students with special needs. When passed in 1975, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), committed Congress to pay 40 percent of the additional cost associated with educating students with special needs. The closest Congress has come to this commitment is 18 percent in 2005, and its federal share is at 15 percent for the 2017-18 school year.

Led by U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), the original bill co-sponsors include Reps. John Katko (R-N.Y.), David McKinley (R-W.Va.), Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.) The IDEA Full Funding Act is a seven-year plan to help Congress reach its stated goal.

The chronic underfunding of IDEA by the federal government places an additional funding burden on states, local school districts and taxpayers to pay for needed services. This often means using local budget dollars to cover the federal shortfall, shortchanging other school programs that students with disabilities often also benefit from. In addition to providing ‘full funding’ for students with disabilities, this bill will free up hundreds of millions of dollars at the state and local level.

Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement on the introduction of the IDEA Full Funding Act.

“Full funding of IDEA is AASA’s top legislative priority. Put simply, there is no other federal policy that will improve opportunity for all students.

“By realizing their commitment to fund special education, the federal government will return hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local money to general education budgets, making them available for broader general education programs, which supports all students, including students with disabilities, because special education students are also general education students.

“We commend the co-sponsors on this bill for their strong bi-partisan leadership on this issue, especially in the current funding environment on Capitol Hill. We look forward to working with House and Senate on this bill and through the annual FY18 appropriations process to address IDEA funding.”

(Click here to read a letter signed by AASA and nearly 40 national organizations that was sent to the aforementioned members of Congress expressing strong support for the IDEA Full Funding Act.)   

For specific questions about IDEA, please contact Noelle Ellerson Ng, AASA associate executive director, policy and advocacy, at nellerson@aasa.org.


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.