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State of Vermont

House of Representatives

Montpelier, Vermont

Joint House Resolution

J.R.H.  3

Joint resolution urging Congress to increase the federal expenditure for special education to 40 percent

Offered by:  Representative Obuchowski of Rockingham

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 $193.5 million in fiscal year 2006, and

Whereas, there are over 13,800 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 $357 million in special education funding, and

Whereas, the federal government has contributed percentages of special education funding in recent fiscal years that are 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, former U.S. Senator James Jeffords, before his retirement, created 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 and the United States Congress to increase federal special education funding to the 40-percent, level that Congress previously committed the federal government to support, and be it further

Resolved:  That the secretary of state be directed to send a copy of this resolution to President George W. Bush, United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, United States Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, United States House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, United States House Minority Leader John Boehner, and the Vermont Congressional Delegation.




____________________________              Attested to:

Gaye R. Symington

Speaker of the House


____________________________              ____________________________

Brian E. Dubie                                             Donald G. Milne

President of the Senate                               Clerk, House of Representatives



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont