By Christina Samuels
The “skinny” budget blueprint released by the Trump administration Thursday would maintain current spending levels for special education—about $13 billion, most of which is money sent directly to states.
The budget blueprint is just the beginning of a long process. While this document shows the administration’s priorities, it is Congress that ultimately passes spending legislation. And lawmakers have their own ideas about what programs should be cut, and which should be kept.
But, if these funding amounts were to stay in place, the federal contribution for special education and related services would be about 16 percent of the excess costs of educating a student with a disability, compared to a general education student.
In 1975, when the federal government passed the law that was to become the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Congress authorized paying states up to 40 percent of the excess costs of educating a student with disabilities, based on national per-pupil expenditures. But in the 40-plus years of the law’s existence, the federal government has never gotten close to meeting that goal. The Trump administration is not different from other administrations in that regard.