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The new federal spending bill may affect your special needs child

Sequestration and a host of other issues with the federal budget have dramatically affected public education spending over the last few years. In many school districts, special education programs, the arts, sports and other opportunities have been cut in significant ways. Thankfully, the new federal spending bill will help to restore some of the funding that has been lost over the past few chaotic spending cycles.

Because of the ways in which money flows in and out of school districts, increased funding likely will not impact affected districts much until the fall of the 2014-2015 school year. However, the increased funds will be welcome even though their arrival will likely be stalled for several more months.

It is worth noting that the federal spending bill will not simply restore funds exactly in the ways they were disbursed before sequestration. For example, certain programs initiated by the Obama administration are being reformed to allow districts and states more flexibility in fixing underperforming schools.

In addition, special education programs specifically will be receiving increased funds but budgets for special education will not be restored to pre-sequestration levels. As a result of this development, it remains important for parents to be vigilant about the education that their special needs children are receiving. Whether budgets are being cut or partially restored, students with disabilities are guaranteed certain opportunities and treatment under the law. If you believe that your child’s education is being impacted by budgetary changes, please consult an experienced attorney who can help you navigate your options.

Source: Education Week, “Boosts for Head Start, Title I, Special Education in Federal Spending Bill,” Alyson Klein, Jan. 13, 2014

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