Issue Date Winter 2002

 

ESEA AND IDEA FULL FUNDING

The conferees for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act (ESEA), H.R.1, met again on December 11 and approved the bill.
During the debate, Senator Harkin tried one more time to get his IDEA full
funding amendment passed.  If youıll recall, the new Harkin/Hagel/Jeffords
amendment would provide full mandatory funding for the Individuals with
Disabilities Act within six years, contingent upon reauthorization of the
act next year or approval of the FY03 budget, whichever occurs first.  The
conferees had already rejected Harkinıs original proposal, which would have
fully funded the program within six years, and continued full funding
through FY 2011.

Harkin explained that his new proposal would tie full funding to IDEA
reform, addressing the concerns of various Republican conferees about
providing more money for a program that they feel needs some substantial
changes.  Despite this, the House conferees rejected the measure by a
straight party line vote of 6 to 8 (the Senate conferees approved the
measure by a vote of 17 to 8, with Senator Hutchinson [R-AR] voting with the
majority this time around).  A spokesman for House Education and the
Workforce, Chairman Boehner said the proposal was unacceptable, saying that
it would still "detach IDEA funding from IDEA reform, putting you back to
where you started."  Those opposed to the proposal have stated that they are
not necessarily against full IDEA funding; theyıre more concerned about how
to do it (whether to keep it as a discretionary program or make the funding
mandatory) and when to do it (now, through ESEA, or next year, during IDEA
reauthorization).  Although a majority of the conferees voted to support the
revised full funding amendment, both the House and Senate conferees must
agree on an issue.  Since the House defeated the amendment, it is
effectively a "non-issue" within the ESEA reauthorization bill.  Supporters
of the proposal, both within and outside of Congress, vow to try again next
year, when IDEA is slated to be reauthorized.
For an overview of the major provisions of H.R. 1, go to:
http://edworkforce.house.gov/press/press107/confrepthousepass121301.htm
or
http://www.ed.gov/PressReleases/12-2001/12112001b.html

By the time this goes to press, we will have gotten through the holidays
with our annual PACEC conference long past.    I hope that you all took
something positive, thought provoking and/or helpful away with you.  I know
I did!  For those of you that attended any legislative/advocacy sessions and
would like the material that was presented (as we had difficulties getting
things out to everyone in at least one session), please contact me at <
[email protected] > and Iıll be happy to get the materials to you.

Vicki A. McGinley, Ph.D.,
CAN Coordinator
 

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