On Monday, June 29, 2020 , Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Chris VanHollen (D-MD) introduced the Supporting Children with Disabilities During COVID–19 Act. The bill would provide one-time emergency funding to support Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill acknowledges the disproportionate impact that in-person school and program closures has had on many children with disabilities and the unprecedented budget challenges brought on by the pandemic. It provides emergency IDEA funding to address these issues by specifically providing $11 billion for grants to states, $400 million for preschool grants, $500 for programs for infants and toddlers and $300 million for personnel development.
These funding levels largely reflect the funding request CEC put forward in March, which over 5,000 grassroots advocates supported through the CEC Legislative Action Center.
Today, Tuesday, June 30, 2020, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, introduced the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act along with 15 of her Senate colleagues. That bill would provide $345 billion in additional funding to the Education Stabilization Fund, authorized through the CARES Act. It also provides $11.9 billion in dedicated emergency IDEA funding but fails to include funding for personnel development.
Both bills are partisan Democrat bills in a Republican-controlled Senate, so they are unlikely to pass. However, they are markers for Democrat priorities on the next COVID-19 package.
As the Senate begins to put pen to paper on a possible next COIVD-19 package, now is the time to amplify the message that emergency funding for IDEA is needed. Tell Senators Murray and Cantwell how important IDEA funding will be for infants, toddlers, children and youth to support ongoing services and education during the pandemic, whether in person or at a distance. Please go to CEC’s Legislative Action Center to take action today!