Session of 2000
Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 1644
By Committee on Education

10             A  CONCURRENT  RESOLUTION urging the President and the Con-
11             gress of the United States to increase funding for special education
12             from an average federal share of 12% nationwide to the 40% level
13             authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
15             WHEREAS,  In Brown v. Board of Education, a unanimous Supreme
16       Court of the United States recognized that education is perhaps the most
17       important function of state and local governments; in Wisconsin v. Yoder,
18       the Supreme Court recognized that the provision of public schools ranks
19       at the very apex of the function of a state; in San Antonio Independent
20       School District v. Rodriquez, the Supreme Court refused to invalidate
21       the Texas system of financing its public schools opining that education is
22       one of the most important services performed by the state and declining
23       to intrude in an area which traditionally has been reserved for state leg-
24       islatures; and
25             WHEREAS,  The architects of America's Constitution and Bill of
26       Rights constructed a unique form of federalism under which the people
27       delegated to the national government certain limited powers while re-
28       serving all other authority to the states and the people; the powers of the
29       two government levels were carefully balanced and each had distinct roles
30       with most day-to-day functions being left at the level closest to the people;
31       the founders expected state power to rival national power; and
32             WHEREAS,  America's unique form of federalism worked for a while,
33       but has been severely eroded over the years; the states have become
34       enfeebled while the federal government has consolidated power and now
35       involves itself in every conceivable area of governance, including the most
36       local of concerns; nowhere is encroachment by the federal government
37       on states' rights more apparent than in the area of education, specifically
38       special education; and
39             WHEREAS,  The states were and are well aware of the constitutional
40       obligation to provide public education for children with disabilities; many
41       of the states enacted constitutionally sound special education laws prior
42       to enactment in 1975 by Congress of Public Law 94-142, the Education
43       for All Handicapped Children Act, known since 1990 as the Individuals


  1       with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA; nearly six million American
  2       children receive special education services provided by the states at a cost
  3       of almost $40 billion, only about $5.7 billion of which is federal money;
  4       and
  5             WHEREAS,  Enactment of the IDEA transferred decisions about the
  6       ways in which special education services would be provided from state
  7       capitals to Washington, D.C.; in an effort to alleviate the intrusion that
  8       transfer of control over special education had upon an area traditionally
  9       reserved to the states, the Act authorized appropriation of a sum equal
10       to 40% of the average per pupil expenditure for general education pupils;
11       Congressional appropriations have never come near the authorization
12       level; and
13             WHEREAS,  A recent report by the Kansas State Department of Ed-
14       ucation provided the Kansas Legislature with the estimated special edu-
15       cation expenditures in Kansas for fiscal year 2001; the report estimated
16       expenditures for special education in the amount of $483,300,437, and
17       was broken down by anticipated state, local, and federal aid percentages;
18       the report revealed that federal aid, including medicaid reimbursement
19       of approximately $16 million, would comprise only 11.7% of the total
20       expenditures for special education; if increased to the authorized 40%
21       level, federal aid would increase from $56,500,000 to $193,320,175; and
22             WHEREAS,  The National Council on Disability recently reported
23       that many children with disabilities are receiving substandard schooling
24       because the states are not complying with federal rules on special edu-
25       cation; the response of officials at the U.S. Department of Education, the
26       federal agency responsible for overseeing compliance with the IDEA, was
27       predictable, not an assertion that the agency would make an intense effort
28       to get Congress to provide assistance to the states in the form of increased
29       dollars, at least to a level more nearly approaching the 40% level of ex-
30       penditures authorized for special education, but with a threat to be more
31       aggressive in monitoring and enforcing compliance; and
32             WHEREAS,  In 1998, the Kansas Legislature adopted a concurrent
33       resolution memorializing the Congress to assume its fair share of the costs
34       of special education services by increasing funding to a level more nearly
35       approaching the level authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Ed-
36       ucation Act; and
37             WHEREAS,  Kansas Congressman Jerry Moran took heed of the Kan-
38       sas Legislature's resolution and wrote a letter to President Clinton. The
39       letter, dated January 20, 2000, and fully endorsed by the Kansas Legis-
40       lature, contained the following excerpts:
41             ``Dear Mr. President:
42              As you prepare for the State of the Union address and your budget
43             submission to Congress, I encourage you to place a high priority on


  1             funding special education. The greatest issue facing Kansas Governor
  2             Bill Graves and the Kansas Legislature is finding the necessary re-
  3             sources to meet the needs of Kansas students.
  4              ``Congress first mandated special education in 1975 and pledged to
  5             assist state and local governments by paying 40 percent of the costs of
  6             educating students with disabilities. Unfortunately, the federal govern-
  7             ment has never met its obligation.
  8              ``Mr. President, I share your goals of improving school facilities,
  9             hiring and training more teachers and making better technology avail-
10             able to students, but rather than rolling out a list of expensive new
11             federal programs, let's go back and fulfill a commitment made 25 years
12             ago to fund special education. Doing so would free up billions of dollars
13             nationwide that states could use to address their own unique education
14             needs.
15              ``As you prepare your budget and as you prepare to address the
16             nation, I hope you will make special education your priority. It is im-
17             portant, not only to those children who participate in special education
18             programs, but to every child whose education is so important to the
19             future of our country.''; and
20             WHEREAS,  The Kansas Legislature has devoted considerable effort
21       and a great amount of time during the 2000 session in an attempt to
22       address concerns regarding delivery of special education services and to
23       find some solution to the rapidly escalating costs of providing such serv-
24       ices; in the course of its study of the matter, the Legislature received
25       reports from the Kansas State Department of Education and from em-
26       battled providers of special education services in the field; the reports
27       were overwhelmingly disturbing and revealed that from 1990 through
28       1998, Kansas realized a 29% increase in the number of pupils with disa-
29       bilities, a 32% increase in the number of professionals, and a 150% in-
30       crease in the number of paraprofessionals; one special education coop-
31       erative reported a 48% increase in expenditures for special education
32       from the 1990-91 school year through the 1999-2000 school year; school
33       districts are experiencing continuing growth in the population of children
34       with severe disabilities, in the number of behavior disordered pupils and
35       in other high need populations of children, such as children with autism
36       or traumatic brain injury, who require high cost programs; the 1997 IDEA
37       amendments added several new specific disabling conditions; the quality
38       and quantity of special education teachers is a major concern as the
39       growth in numbers of pupils and severity of disabilities increase and the
40       pool of trained teachers decreases; special education professionals face
41       stress, burnout and increased paperwork even though the 1997 amend-
42       ments to the IDEA were supposed to reduce paperwork; one director of
43       special education services stated that he had been a special education


  1       professional since 1972 and was more worried than in his whole career
  2       about the increasing demands on the system to serve more pupils, with
  3       more severe disabilities, to higher standards than ever before, with fewer
  4       trained, skilled teachers and decreasing financial resources; and
  5             WHEREAS,  On February 7, 2000, President Clinton sent Congress a
  6       $1.84 trillion budget proposal that devotes more than $300 billion to more
  7       than 100 new programs; while many of the centerpieces of the budget
  8       proposal may be praiseworthy, legislators and school officials in Kansas
  9       would rather the Congress, in drafting its own spending proposals, honor
10       the commitment to fully fund the federal share of special education costs
11       before adopting any spending proposal that is dedicated to new programs:
12       Now, therefore,
13             Be it resolved by the Senate of the State of Kansas, the House of Rep-
14       resentatives concurring therein: That the Legislature, in recognition
15       that children with disabilities have a fundamental right to be provided
16       with a free and appropriate public education and that the Congress of
17       the United States has enacted a federal law for the purpose of assisting
18       the states in honoring that fundamental right and in the belief that pro-
19       jected federal budget surpluses present the federal government with the
20       tremendous opportunity to assume its fair share of the costs of providing
21       special education services, hereby strongly urges the President and the
22       Congress of the United States to put a new twist on the old joke about
23       federal officials appearing in a state and saying ``we're here to help'' by
24       increasing funding for the provision of special education services for chil-
25       dren with disabilities from the average federal share of 12% nationwide
26       to the 40% level authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education
27       Act; and
28             Be it further resolved: That the Secretary of State is hereby directed
29       to send enrolled copies of this resolution to The Hon. William Clinton at
30       1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C. 20500; The Hon. Richard Ri-
31       ley at U.S. Dept. of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. NW, Washington,
32       D.C. 20202; The Hon. Pat Roberts at 302 Hart Senate O.B., Washington,
33       D.C. 20510; The Hon. Sam Brownback at 303 Hart Senate O.B., Wash-
34       ington, D.C. 20510; The Hon. Jerry Moran at 1519 Longworth House
35       O.B., Washington, D.C. 20515; The Hon. Jim Ryun at 330 Cannon House
36       O.B., Washington D.C. 20515; The Hon. Dennis Moore at 506 Cannon
37       House O.B., Washington, D.C. 20515; The Hon. Todd Tiahrt at 428
38       Cannon House O.B., Washington, D.C. 20515; The Hon. James Jeffords
39       at 728 Hart Senate O.B., Washington, D.C. 20510; The Hon. Edward
40       Kennedy at 315 Russell Senate O.B., Washington, D.C. 20510; The Hon.
41       Ted Stevens at 522 Hart Senate O.B., Washington, D.C. 20510; The Hon.
42       Robert Byrd at 311 Hart Senate O.B., Washington, D.C. 20510; The Hon.
43       Arlen Specter at 711 Hart Senate O.B., Washington, D.C. 20510; The


  1       Hon. Tom Harkin at 731 Hart Senate O.B., Washington, D.C. 20510;
  2       The Hon. William Goodling at 2107 Rayburn House O.B., Washington,
  3       D.C. 20510; The Hon. William Clay at 2306 Rayburn House O.B., Wash-
  4       ington, D.C. 20515; The Hon. Bill Young at 2407 Rayburn House O.B.,
  5       Washington, D.C., 20515; The Hon. David R. Obey at 2314 Rayburn
  6       House O.B., Washington, D.C. 20515; Gore 2000 Incorporated at P.O.
  7       Box 330087, Nashville, TN 37203; Bush for President Incorporated at
  8       301 Congress Avenue, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78701; National Conference
  9       of State Legislatures at 444 North Capitol Street, N.W., Suite 515, Wash-
10       ington, D.C. 20001, and at 1560 Broadway, Suite 700, Denver, CO 80202;
11       American Legislative Exchange Council at 910 17th Street N.W., Fifth
12       Floor, Washington, D.C. 20006; Council of State Governments at Hall of
13       the States, Suite 401, Washington, D.C. 20001; National Governors' As-
14       sociation at Hall of States, 444 North Capitol Street, Washington, D.C.
15       20001.