VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – Congresswoman Elaine Luria signed a bipartisan letter urging Congressional Leadership to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in future COVID-19 relief packages.
“Access to a quality education is an issue that is deeply important to me and to families throughout Hampton Roads. That is why I joined this bipartisan effort to urge Congressional leadership to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in the next relief package,” said Congresswoman Luria. “As remote learning becomes our new normal, Congress has a responsibility to ensure students with disabilities have access to a quality education during this public health emergency.”
Last month, Congresswoman Luria supported the Coronavirus Assistance, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, but stressed that more work needs to be done. This letter notes that while the CARES Act makes progress in giving states the help they need, the federal government must do more to ease burdens on state budgets. This is especially true as the COVID-19 pandemic exposes the underfunded state of special education programs across our nation.
When IDEA became law, the federal government promised states and school districts that it would pay 40 percent of the Average Per Pupil Expenditure in IDEA Part B grants. Unfortunately, this commitment has never been met, with regular appropriations for IDEA Part B never reaching above 19.4 percent. Funding under IDEA Part B provides resources for the education of all children with disabilities.
As schools move to remote learning due to the COVID-19 crisis, the funding promised in IDEA becomes even more critical. The letter argues that “It is necessary that IDEA receives its own designated set aside in any future packages… to close the academic achievement gap and help prepare these students for further education, unemployment, and independent living.”