The blog IDEA Money Watch compiled information released by the U.S. Department of Education and created a nice chart that spells out how much each state stands to lose in federal funding for special education, should the sequester cuts stay in place.
States received about $11.5 billion in Part B funds for fiscal year 2012—Part B refers to the special education dollars that are used to educate students ages 5 to 21. The numbers in this chart assume a 5 percent reduction in funding for fiscal 2013. As explained in my colleague Alyson Klein’s excellent piece on frequently asked sequester questions, the sequester doesn’t mean that states will immediately start to feel the pinch, because the money has been “forward-funded.” Any budget impact would start to be felt more in the 2013-14 school year.
But in special education, states are obligated to provide a free, appropriate public education to their students. So, if funding is cut at the federal level, it would have to be made up with state or local dollars.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has gotten in hot water from some who say he is exaggerating the impact of these cuts. But in a visit to a preschool today, he told the media that he stands firm on the numbers.
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A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.