Wilk: Congress Must Keep Promise to California's Special Education Students

Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) announces that his Senate Joint Resolution 4 (SJR 4) has unanimously passed out of the Assembly. In 1975, Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to ensure students with disabilities receive the necessary academic support in order to succeed. SJR 4 calls on Congress to uphold its end of the bargain and fully fund IDEA.
“In 1975, the federal government made a commitment to students with disabilities and their families to fund IDEA. It has completely failed in its partnership with the states by not keeping its promised funding levels,” said Wilk. “School districts are forced to make up the shortfall, which hinders our ability to provide a high-quality education to all students – those with and without disabilities.”
IDEA guaranteed that the federal government would pay 40% of all special education costs. The federal government has failed to keep this promise. In 2005-06, the federal share of special education costs was 14% and nosedived to a mere 8% during the 2019-2020 school year.
IDEA funding lags so far behind the promised amount, that there is a $3.2 billion deficit of federal funding in this area in California alone.
In California, IDEA serves approximately 800,000 students. SJR 4 reminds Congress that IDEA was a guarantee, not an empty promise to be cast aside once passed.
“Congress: Keep your promise to California’s Special Education students, and to millions of students, families, and faculty across the nation by fully funding IDEA once and for all,” concluded Wilk.