By Christina Samuels
U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House education committee, wants to see a big increase for federal special education funding, to the tune of $1.5 billion, in the next spending bill for the U.S. Department of Education. That would bring aid for special education to $13 billion, and the federal share of such spending up to 18 percent of the excess cost of educating a child with disabilities.
The feds originally pledged to pony up 40 percent of that funding when Congress first approved what is now the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act back in the 1970s. But they’ve never come close to that threshold, and right now it’s about 16 percent. On Tuesday, Kline sent a letter asking for the increase to lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee. He was joined by Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., who oversess the House education subcommittee that deals with K-12 policy, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., who has a son with special needs.