SACRAMENTO – Senator Scott Wilk, representing the 21st Senate District, announces Senate Joint Resolution 8 (SJR 8) has passed unanimously out of the Assembly Committee on Education. SJR 8 urges the United States Congress to uphold its end of the bargain and fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a program focusing on disabled students.
“One of the most essential functions of government is to provide a quality education to every child,” said Wilk. “But the federal government is withholding their share of special education funding, which puts a heavy burden on our schools and makes things worse for all students.”
In 1975, Congress passed Education for Handicapped Children Act – rewritten in 1990 and renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA requires all public schools to provide certain special education services. When IDEA was passed, Congress pledged to fund 40% of its mandate, but it has never met that mark – today, it only provides about 15% of the necessary funds for school districts to meet its requirements. This means our school districts and the state have been forced to do more with less, straining to fund the mandates.
This year, United States Senator Chris Van Hollen (D – Maryland) has introduced a bill, S. 866 that will provide greater special education funding for schools, allowing Congress to meet its original 40% mark by the year 2029. SJR 8 strongly encourages Congress to pass S. 866 in the interest of students across California and the nation.
“Congress must keep its promise and provide adequate funding for all students,” said Wilk. “I’m thankful to the committee for its support. I hope Congress hears our message and passes S. 866 so that all children have an opportunity for a quality education.”
SJR 8 now heads to the full Assembly for a vote.