Archive for the ‘Balance Sheet’ Category

Understanding IDEA Full Funding

Saturday, April 6th, 2024

What, exactly, is “full funding” of IDEA?

The term is misleading, and, therefore, the funding “promise” made by Congress in IDEA is often misrepresented.

Back in 1975 when Congress enacted the original special education law – then called the Education of All Handicapped Children Act, later renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – Congress set a maximum target for the federal contribution to special education spending at equal to 40 percent of the estimated excess cost of educating children with disabilities.

At the time, Congress estimated that educating children with disabilities would cost approximately twice as much as the cost to educate non-disabled children. So, Congress authorized a funding level equal to 40% of the excess cost of providing special education (not 100% as is often reported). The metric used to determine the “excess cost” was the national average per pupil expenditure (APPE). Thus, the authorized amount was set at 40% of the national average per pupil expenditure or APPE. (Note: One nationwide study showed that special education costs are 1.9 times that expended on general education students. A study of special education spending currently underway at the National Center for Special Education Research is due out in 2026.)

If IDEA were “fully funded,” the annual federal appropriation for IDEA Section 611 would be 40% of the national average per pupil expenditure (APPE) for elementary and secondary education adjusted for each state’s annual changes in child population and poverty rate. This chart provides the appropriations history from 1992 to 2024. As the chart shows, the percentage of APPE has never exceeded 18 percent (except in 2009 when the Recovery Act provided a one-time doubling of the appropriated funds).

To be clear, when IDEA federal funds are sent off to states and then to local school districts (LEAs) around the country, that amount would not be 40% of the excess cost in every district. The percent would vary depending on how much each local district spends on education. The amount states and districts spend “per pupil” varies significantly across the nation. For example, in FY2021, while the average was $14,295 per pupil, that amount ranged from a low of $9,014 in Utah to a high of $26,097 in New York. (see spending for all states here).

When considering increases in federal funding for IDEA, it is important to keep in mind that Congress added a “maximum” allowable grant award provision in the 2004 re-authorization of the Act. Beginning in 2006, the maximum grant is 40% of APPE times the number of children with disabilities the state served in school year 2004-2005 adjusted by the annual rates of change in the state’s population in the age range comparable to ages for which the state provides FAPE for children with disabilities (85% of the adjustment) and in the state’s children living in poverty in the same age range (15% of the adjustment). In other words, the number of children being served under IDEA in the state has not played a role in calculating the maximum grant award since 2004-2005. Congress made this change in 2004 for the express purpose of removing any fiscal incentive to over identify students as disabled. The maximum grant level allows for the possibility that some funds would be unallocated in years in which IDEA funding rises enough that every state can receive its maximum grant.

See also:

National Council on Disability, Broken Promises: The Underfunding of IDEA, 2018. (PDF)

Congressional Research Service, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Funding: A Primer, Updated August 29, 2019.

TRACKING the Federal Budget & Appropriations IDEA Grants to States for FY 2025

Thursday, March 21st, 2024

This Balance Sheet tracks the Federal budget and appropriations process for IDEA funds for FY 2025 which covers the period of October 1, 2024 – September 30, 2025.

BUDGET & APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS: The first step in this process is the release of the President’s Budget Request, followed by activities of the Appropriations Committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives, formulations of Appropriations bills that are approved by the committees, then advance to full Senate and House, enactment of a conferenced appropriations bill that is signed into law by the President.

March 11, 2024: President’s FY 2025 Budget Request includes $15.4 billion for grants to states, a 1.3% increase over FY 2024, as follows:
– $14.4 billion for IDEA Part B Sec. 611 Grants to States (a 1.4% increase over the FY 24 appropriation);
– $425 million for IDEA Part B Sec. 619 Grants to States (a 1.2% increase over FY 24 appropriation);
– $545 million for IDEA Part C Grants to States (a .9% increase over FY 24 appropriation).

The Budget estimates that 7.9 million children with disabilities (ages 3-21) will be served under IDEA Part B and 525,000 will be served under Part C (infants and toddlers) in 2025. The Budget also estimates fully funding IDEA in FY25 would cost $46.317 billion, resulting in a $31 billion gap between current funding levels and “full funding.”

The President’s FY 2025 Budget Request details are available here.

See Understanding IDEA Full Funding for more information.

National PTA: The Federal Appropriations and Budget Process



TRACKING the Federal Budget & Appropriations IDEA Grants to States for FY 2024

Tuesday, March 14th, 2023

This Balance Sheet tracks the Federal budget and appropriations process for IDEA funds for FY 2024 which covers the period of October 1, 2023 – September 30, 2024.

BUDGET & APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS: The first step in this process is the release of the President’s Budget Request, followed by activities of the Appropriations Committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives, formulations of Appropriations bills that are approved by the committees, then advance to full Senate and House, enactment of a conferenced appropriations bill that is signed into law by the President.

FINAL FY 24 APPROPRIATIONS:
– $15.5 billion for IDEA Part B Sec. 611 Grants to States (a 1.4% increase over the FY 23 appropriation);
– $420 million for IDEA Part B Sec. 619 Grants to States (same as the FY 23 appropriation);
– $540 million for IDEA Part C Grants to States ( same as the FY 23 appropriation).

In lieu of passing FY24 appropriations bills, Congress passed continuing resolutions to fund the government as follows:
– Passed Sept. 30, 2023: Continuing Resolution through Nov. 17
– Passed Nov. 14, 2023: Continuing Resolution through Jan. 19/Feb. 2
– Passed Jan. 18, 2024: Continuing Resolution through March 1/March 8
– Passed Feb. 29, 2024: Continuing Resolution through March 8/March 22

April 18, 2023: Education Secretary Miguel Cardona testifies before the Subcommittee of House Appropriations Committee at hearing on the Department of Education FY24 budget request. Watch it here.

March 9, 2023: President’s FY 2024 Budget Request includes $17.7 billion for grants to states, a 16.8% increase over FY 2023, as follows:
– $16.3 billion for IDEA Part B Sec. 611 Grants to States (a 14.6% increase over the FY 23 appropriation);
– $502.6 million for IDEA Part B Sec. 619 Grants to States (a 19.7% increase over FY 23 appropriation);
– $932.0 million for IDEA Part C Grants to States (a 72.6% increase over FY 23 appropriation).

The Budget estimates that 7.5 million children with disabilities (ages 3-21) will be served under IDEA Part B and 508,000 will be served under Part C (infants and toddlers) in 2024.

The President’s FY 2024 Budget Request details are available here.

TRACKING the Federal Budget & Appropriations IDEA Grants to States for FY 2023

Wednesday, March 30th, 2022

This Balance Sheet tracks the Federal budget and appropriations process for IDEA funds for FY 2023 which covers the period of October 1, 2022 – September 30, 2023.

BUDGET & APPROPRIATIONS PROCESS: The first step in this process is the release of the President’s Budget Request, followed by activities of the Appropriations Committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives, formulations of Appropriations bills that are approved by the committees, then advance to full Senate and House, enactment of a conferenced appropriations bill that is signed into law by the President.

December 22, 2022: Congress passes and the President signs H.R. 2617, the Consolidated Appropriations Act to fund the federal government for the remainder of FY 2023 (Public Law No: 117-328.) The table below shows funding for IDEA grants to states compared to FY 2022.

September 30, 2022: Congress passes and the President signs H.R.6833, a Continuing Resolution to keep the federal government open until Dec 16, 2022 at FY 22 funding levels. This action was necessary because Congress has not completed work on FY 23 appropriations bills.

July 28, 2022: Senate Appropriations Committee releases bill to fund the Dept. of Education. Bill provides funding for IDEA grants to states as follows:
– $15.9 billion for Part B Sec. 611 Grants to States ($940 million less than amount requested by President),
– $445 million for Part B Sec. 619 Grants to States (a $35 million increase over FY 22, $58 million less than President’s request of $502.6 million),
– $591.3 million for Part C Grants to States (a $95 million increase over FY 23, $341 million less that President’s request of $932 million)
Committee report is available here

See table below for comparison of President’s budget request, House and Senate Appropriations committee bills.

June 30, 2022: House of Representatives Appropriations Committee passes bill to fund the Dept. of Education, including substantial increases for IDEA grants to states as follows:
– $16.3 billion for Part B Sec. 611 Grants to States (same amount requested by President),
– $439.6 million for Part B Sec. 619 Grants to States (a $30 million increase over FY 22, $63 million less than President’s request of $502.6 million),
– $621.3 million for Part C Grants to States (a $125 million increase over FY 23, $310.7 million less that President’s request of $932 million)
Committee report is available here

June 7, 2022: Education Secretary Miguel Cardona testifies before the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee at hearing on the Department of Education FY23 budget request. Watch here.

May 26, 2022: Education Secretary Miguel Cardona testifies before the House Appropriations Full Committee at hearing on the Department of Education FY23 budget request. Watch here.

April 28, 2022: Education Secretary Miguel Cardona testifies before the Subcommittee of House Appropriations Committee at hearing on the Department of Education FY23 budget request. Watch here.

March 28, 2022: President’s FY 2023 Budget Request includes $17.7 billion for grants to states, a 14% increase over FY 2022, as follows:
– $16.3 billion for IDEA Part B Sec. 611 Grants to States (a 22% increase over regular FY 22 appropriation)
– $502.6 million for IDEA Part B Sec. 619 Grants to States (a 23% increase over regular FY 22 appropriation)
– $932.6 million for IDEA Part C Grants to States (a 89% increase over regular FY 22 appropriation)

The President’s FY 2023 Budget Request details are available here.

Also of interest:

IDEA Money Watch: Understanding IDEA Full Funding


Understanding Full Funding

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

What, exactly, is “full funding” of IDEA?

The term is misleading, and, therefore, the funding “promise” made by Congress in IDEA is often misrepresented.

Back in 1975 when Congress enacted the original special education law – then called the Education of All Handicapped Children Act, later renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – Congress set a maximum target for the federal contribution to special education spending at equal to 40 percent of the estimated excess cost of educating children with disabilities.

At the time, Congress estimated that educating children with disabilities would cost approximately twice as much as the cost to educate non-disabled children. So, Congress authorized a funding level equal to 40% of the excess cost of providing special education (not 100% as is often reported). The metric used to determine the “excess cost” was the national average per pupil expenditure (APPE). Thus, the authorized amount was set at 40% of the national average per pupil expenditure or APPE. (Note: One nationwide study showed that special education costs are 1.9 times that expended on general education students.)

If IDEA were “fully funded,” the annual federal appropriation for Section 611 would be 40% of the national average per pupil expenditure (APPE) for elementary and secondary education adjusted for each state’s annual changes in child population and poverty rate. This chart provides the appropriations history from 1987 to 2021. As the chart shows, the percentage of APPE has never exceeded 18 percent (except in 2009 when the Recovery Act provided a one-time doubling of the appropriated funds).

To be clear, when IDEA federal funds are sent off to states and then to local school districts (LEAs) around the country, that amount would not be 40% of the excess cost in every district. The percent would vary depending on how much each local district spends on education. The amount states and districts spend “per pupil” varies significantly across the nation. For example, in the 2019-2020 school year, while the average was $13,489 per pupil, that amount ranged from a low of $8,287 in Utah to a high of $25,273 in New York. (see spending for all states here).

When considering increases in federal funding for IDEA, it is important to keep in mind that Congress added a “maximum” allowable grant award provision in the 2004 re-authorization of the Act. Beginning in 2006, the maximum grant is 40% of APPE times the number of children with disabilities the state served in school year 2004-2005 adjusted by the annual rates of change in the state’s population in the age range comparable to ages for which the state provides FAPE for children with disabilities (85% of the adjustment) and in the state’s children living in poverty in the same age range (15% of the adjustment). In other words, the number of children being served under IDEA in the state has not played a role in calculating the maximum grant award since 2004-2005. Congress made this change in 2004 for the express purpose of removing any fiscal incentive to over identify students as disabled. The maximum grant level allows for the possibility that some funds would be unallocated in years in which IDEA funding rises enough that every state can receive its maximum grant.

See also:

National Council on Disability, Broken Promises: The Underfunding of IDEA, 2018.

Congressional Research Service, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Funding: A Primer, Updated August 29, 2019.