Support Full Funding of IDEA Funding


IDEA Full Funding

-- EDITED from AASA The School Superintendents Association® and the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO)

When it comes to federal priorities, both AASA and ASBO International have a strong emphasis on support for Congress meeting its commitment to IDEA Full Funding.  

In 1975, our country took a major step forward in promoting the inclusion and equality of one of our most disenfranchised groups of citizens. Passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), assured that all children with disabilities would receive a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). Millions of children with disabilities are no longer limited by their families’ ability to afford private education, forced to attend costly state institutions, or worse, forced to stay home and miss out entirely on the benefits of an education. IDEA ensures that children with disabilities may attend public schools alongside their peers. Despite all that has been accomplished on behalf of children with disabilities, much more remains to be done.

When IDEA passed in 1975, Congress understood that it was creating a law that would have increased financial impact at state and local levels. It promised to pay a significant share (40%) of the excess costs of educating a child with a disability compared to a general education student. In the 1997 reauthorization, the 40% of excess cost was changed to 40% of the National Average Per Pupil Expenditure (NAPPE) for every child enrolled in special education.  Funding the federal, state and local partnership to provide an equal educational opportunity for all students has not worked very well from the local district perspective. While special education funding has received significant increases over the past 18 years, funding has leveled off and even been cut in recent years. The closest the federal government has come to reaching its 40% commitment was 18% in 2005.

Investing in IDEA, a federal flagship formula program designed to help level the education playing field for students with disabilities, is an investment in our nation’s students and their future. It indicates that Congress is serious in keeping its word to help school districts support all students. Our organizations strongly support full federal funding for IDEA. IDEA is the major—but not sole—vehicle for providing education to students with disabilities. In fact, students with disabilities are general education students first, with nearly two-thirds of students with disabilities spending at least 80% of their time in a general education setting. 

It is important that ALL members of Congress, both in the House and Senate, hear from local school officials on this issue, as discussion continues on FY 20 appropriations and bills that would bring federal funding for IDEA to its original intent are pending in both chambers.

Talking Points:


  • Urge your senators and representatives to safeguard IDEA funding in the FY 20 appropriations process and to invest as much money as possible, with a priority on ensuring that IDEA funding is funded at a level that at least matches that of FY 19. Reiterate the importance of IDEA and its pressures on your local budgets and urge them to oppose any effort to further reduce federal effort in the chronically underfunded program.
  • Urge your representative and senators to support the IDEA Full Funding Act (in the U.S. House:  H.R. 1878; in the U.S. Senate: S. 866).




Federal Contacts for Richland School District


Senator Bob Casey:


393 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Phone: (202) 224-6324

Toll Free: (866) 802-2833

Fax: (202) 228-0604



817 E. Bishop Street, Suite C

Bellefonte, PA 16823

Phone: (814) 357-0314

Fax: (814) 357-0318



Grant Building

310 Grant Street, Suite 2415

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: (412) 803-7370

Fax: (412) 803-7379




Senator Pat Toomey:


248 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Phone: (202) 224-4254

Fax: (202) 228-0284



Richland Square III, Suite 302

1397 Eisenhower Blvd

Johnstown, PA 15904

Phone: (814) 266-5970

Fax: (814) 266-5973




Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson:

Washington D.C Office


400 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

Phone: (202) 225-5121
Fax: (202) 225-5796


Ebensburg Office

107 S. Center St

Ebensburg, PA 15931

Phone: (814) 419-8583
Fax: (814) 846-5124



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