Sequestration is a fiscal policy procedure adopted by Congress to deal with the federal budget deficit. (Learn more here.)
Sequestration was triggered when the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka the Super Committee) failed to reach an agreement on a ten-year, $ 1.2 trillion deficit reduction bill. It was all part of the debt ceiling agreement that Congress passed in August of 2011.
Under sequestration, education funding will be subject to cuts ranging from 9.1% (in 2013) to 5.5% (in 2021).
For IDEA, this means a reduction of $$1,053,600,000 in 2013. Other education programs also will get hit hard…Title I will lose $1.1 billion, $590 million for Head Start — both of these programs serve students with disabilities in addition to IDEA.
A $1.1 billion reduction in IDEA federal funds in 2013 will put the federal contribution toward the cost of special education back to its 2005 level.
This sharp decline in IDEA federal funding will force school districts to either reduce services beyond what is needed to provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities or supplement the shortfall with local funds—something unlikely to happen given continuing effects of the recession and the “lag time” between economic recovery in general and the effects, particularly in revenue, felt by state and local governments.