COVID-19 in San Diego:
Cases & Deaths (Updated Daily)
Tuesday, June 2, 2020

COVID-19 in San Diego: Cases & Deaths (Updated Daily)

Unfunded Federal Mandate Hurts Coronado Schools

Letters to the Editor submitted to The Coronado Times are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher, editors or writers of this publication. Submit letters to letters@coronadotimes.com.

Submitted by Maria Simon


In 1975 Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This important legislation provided for a “free and appropriate” public education to students with disabilities. Included in the legislation was a promise that Congress would fund 40 percent of the extra per pupil cost of special education services.

- Advertisement -

Over four decades later Congress has not only failed to honor its funding commitment, it hasn’t even come close. In 2017 IDEA was federally funded at a mere 14.7 percent. Yet public school districts are still mandated to provide the services and supports – and then pick up the funding shortfall. In 2016-17 Coronado Unified School District spent $7.7 million on Special Education with $3.9 million coming from the General Fund. A fully funded IDEA would offer substantial budget relief to CUSD.

This massive unfunded mandate affects every aspect of our schools. As the budget is squeezed tighter programs that serve all students (including those with disabilities) are marginalized. Rather than restoring programs that were cut during the Great Recession, or increasing student experiences in music and the arts, districts must cover the IDEA funding gap. The ability to recruit and retain qualified teachers is also at risk. Money that could otherwise be used to increase teacher salaries, decrease class sizes, or provide resources and technology to classrooms, is being allocated to Special Education.

Compounding the underfunding of IDEA is the maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement. The MOE obligates any district receiving federal funds to budget and spend at least the same amount of local (or state and local) funds for the education of children with disabilities on a year-to-year basis. The State of California is notorious for providing districts with ‘one time’ (versus ongoing) money. This model contradicts the spirit of MOE and further complicates compliance with IDEA.

- Advertisement -

We should demand nothing short of a fully funded IDEA from Congress. Fortunately a bipartisan group of Congress members from CA, WV, MN, NY WA, and MD have introduced the IDEA Full Funding Act. It is up to us to make sure that our elected representatives in Washington DC support this legislation. Please write to Congressman Scott Peters (Scott.Peters@mail.house.gov) and ask him to join his colleagues in this bipartisan effort to help our public schools.

The decades long, shortsighted and reckless underfunding of IDEA from our federal government compromises the right to a quality education for all students – whether they learn in general education classrooms, special education classrooms, or both. Special Education challenges do not discriminate by zip code or any other marker and districts are left to “find a way.” School district officials across the country subsidize this mandate in a variety of ways: many are taxing authorities and they levy the funds from their community, others pass bonds or (as is the case of many of our neighbors) have higher revenues under the Local Control Funding Formula. CUSD has none of these options. We are burdened with unfunded mandates and we have no control over revenue.

Every student deserves access to a quality education and when we focus on the success of our students with disabilities all of our students benefit. But, as long as it is underfunded the good intentions behind IDEA are compromised. Add your voice to the bipartisan IDEA Full Funding Coalition – over 30 education organizations made up of teachers, school administrators and board members, parents, and special education advocates – and tell Congress to put the money with the mandate.

Resources for more information:

https://huffman.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/rep-huffman-introduces-bipartisan-bicameral-legislation-to-fully-fund

https://www.nsba.org/nsba4idea

  Maria Simon

 


image from U.S. Department of Education IDEA website

 

 

-----
Do You Value The Coronado Times?
Become a Paid Supporter

Avatar
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is thrilled to call Coronado home and raise her two children here. In her free time enjoys hitting the gym, reading, and walking her dog around the “island.”Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@coronadotimes.com
Advertisement

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Black Lives Matter – What Coronado Residents Can Do to Help

Submitted by Khara HarknessI am part of the 75% of white people that occupy Coronado.Coronado is currently at a complete stop. COVID19 is rapidly spreading across the world causing...

Salute to our Veterans and Local Citizens

Submitted by Norman HuffAs a Salute to our veterans on Memorial Day Weekend, I have rounded up some personal history and accomplishments of local...

Torn About What to do When Witnessing Homophobic Actions

Submitted by Charlotte HobbsFifteen months ago, we moved from a city in the southern United States to Coronado. Our three children, now all in...

Skill Saws, Weed Whips, Mowers and Blowers

Submitted by Charles BatschI remember the first time I came to this town. It was 1960 and I was only five years old. When...

NEW STORIES

Update: The Coronado Bridge is Now Open in Both Directions

6/1/20 Update at 10pm: The bridge has been reopened in both directions.6/1/20 Update at 5:55pm:  The bridge is now closed in both directions for...

Memorial for George Floyd Grows at Coronado Beach

On the sidewalk near Coronado's central beach, a makeshift memorial for George Floyd was started today by a local family. The memorial is growing...

Coronado Bridge Closed Due to Protesters (Update: Bridge Open)

BREAKING: 6/1/20 3:52pm  Coronado Bridge Closed to Westbound Traffic6/1/20 4:35am Update: Bridge is now open in both directions.5/31/20 5:45pm Update: City of Coronado issues...

Coronado Bliss Salon is Open and Committed to Guest Safety

At Coronado Bliss, we are committed to your safety and wellness throughout your entire experience with us! Here are some of the extra precautions...

60 Minutes to Feature Tijuana River’s Toxic Waste Flow Across Border to U.S.

On Sunday, May 31, the television broadcast show 60 Minutes will report on the raw sewage that regularly flows through the Tijuana River Valley...