NO. R-47. Joint resolution urging Congress to increase the federal expenditure for special education to 40 percent.
Offered by: Representatives Obuchowski of Rockingham and Cross of Winooski.
Whereas, it is the policy of the state of Vermont to ensure general and special education opportunities for all children, and
Whereas, special education costs in Vermont rose from $51.3 million in fiscal year 1990 to an estimated $172.7 million in fiscal year 2002, and
Whereas, there are over 13,600 students in Vermont who receive special education services, and
Whereas, the federal government has committed itself to provide 40 percent of the average per pupil expenditure in public elementary and secondary schools for funding special education programs, and
Whereas, pursuant to 34 C.F.R. § 300.701(a)(1): “The maximum entitlement is equal to the number of children with disabilities aged 3 through 21 in the State who are receiving special education and related services, multiplied by 40 percent of the average per pupil expenditure in public elementary and secondary schools in the United States,” and
Whereas, the federal government passed the “Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995” (P.L. 104-4, March 22, 1995, 109 Stat. 48) which stated that “the Federal Government should not shift certain costs to the States, and the States should end the practice of shifting costs to local governments, which forces many local governments to increase property taxes,” and
Whereas, since 1983, the federal government has short‑changed Vermont by $313 million in special education funding, and
Whereas, the federal government contributed approximately only 9.7 percent of special education funding in the last fiscal year, which is substantially less than the promised 40 percent, and
Whereas, the federal government’s failure to appropriate special education funding at the level that it is legally committed to expend places a heavy strain on all Vermont property taxpayers who are already overburdened trying to provide a quality education for Vermont students, and, unfortunately, is exacerbating the conflict between local property taxpayers and educational constituencies, and
Whereas, in response to Vermont’s and every other state’s financial burdens that are directly attributed to funding federally mandated special education programs, U.S. Senator James Jeffords has announced that he will lead a bipartisan effort to increase special education funding to the 40 percent level, now therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:
That the General Assembly urges President George W. Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to increase immediately federal special education funding to 40 percent, the level to which Congress previously committed the federal government, and be it further
Resolved: That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to President George W. Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street