Senator Scott Wilk of the 21st district.

Wilk urges congress to fully fund Individual with Disabilities Education Act

State Sen. Scott Wilk celebrated the unanimous passing of Senate Joint Resolution 8 from the Senate Committee on Education Thursday as he and his peers urge Congress to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which is a program focusing on disabled students.

In 1975, Congress passed the Education for Handicapped Children Act, which is now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, Wilk said in a news release. This requires all public schools to provide certain special education services, and Congress pledged to fund 40 percent of its mandate.

That mark has never been met, and today, Congress provides about 15 percent of the necessary funds for school districts to meet their requirements, meaning local governments and states have been strained to fund the mandates, according to Wilk, R-Santa Clarita.

“Providing an education to our students is one of the state’s most important services. Yet, when it comes to students with disabilities, the federal government has dropped the ball in its partnership with the states by not keeping up its promised funding levels,” Wilk said. “This leaves our school districts in a position of having to do more with less to make up for the shortfall, which ultimately hurts all of our students — those with and without disabilities.”

Wilk added, “The IDEA Act is a promise that should be kept. I want to thank my committee colleagues for their support on this measure, and I will continue working to ensure the federal government provides the assistance students with disabilities rely on. I hope Congress hears us and passes (the IDEA Full Funding Act) so that all children can have an opportunity to be educated and succeed in this country.”

SJR 8 is expected to be heard by the full Senate in the near future, according to the release.

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