IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

June 1, 2011


U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein responding to your message

From: United States Senator Dianne Feinstein

To:        Padmini Arhant

Dear  Ms. Arhant,

I received your letter expressing your support for fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). I appreciate the time you took to write and welcome the opportunity to respond.

As you know, when Congress enacted IDEA in 1975, it authorized the Federal Government to contribute up to 40 percent of the cost associated with educating students with disabilities.

This commitment was to ensure that the nearly six million students with special needs receive the same quality of education as their peers without overburdening local school districts.

To date, this commitment has never been fully funded. During fiscal year 2010, $11.5 billion was provided to states for special education, roughly 17 percent of the total cost.

In fiscal year 2009, the Federal Government provided 34 percent of the cost of special education with additional funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

This was the closest the government has ever come to matching the 40 percent commitment. As states cut back on education budgets, local school districts have been forced to cut some of their services or raise taxes to pay for the special education services they are mandated to provide.

I share your concern that school districts may be overburdened by the costs of special education.

During the 111th Congress, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the “IDEA Full Funding Act,” which would have fulfilled the commitment to fully fund IDEA over an eight-year period.

That bill did not get passed before Congress adjourned, so it will need to be reintroduced to be considered in the 112th Congress. Ensuring that all students receive a quality education is a priority of mine, and it is helpful for me to hear your views on this issue.

As Congress considers the reauthorization of IDEA, please be assured that I will work with my colleagues to find responsible and cost-effective ways to provide school districts with adequate special education funding.

Once again, thank you for writing. If you have any further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office.

Best regards.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Further information about my position on issues of concern to California and the Nation are available at my website,  You can also receive electronic e-mail updates by subscribing to my e-mail list. Click here to sign up. Feel free to checkout my YouTube Page


From:  Padmini Arhant

To:  U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein

Honorable. Senator Dianne Feinstein

Dear Senator Feinstein,

Your update in response to my petition on IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) funding is much appreciated.

There is no doubt that fiscal budgets’ priorities are misplaced with education, health and essential services marginalized over wasteful spending.

As stated in your letter, I concur with you in entirety on this issue that –

IDEA Full Funding Act introduced by Senator Tom Harkin requires reintroduction in the 112th Congress.

Again I would go further on this matter to request Congressional members on both sides of the aisle to not only reconsider but also stamp their approval without any procrastination to prove their commitment to American families.

Federal funding towards vital programs such as IDEA providing equal opportunity to significant population with special needs is prudent investment that guarantees quality education resulting in brighter future for all.

It is reassuring to learn about congressional initiative to reauthorize IDEA and your dedication along with other esteemed members cooperation would expedite the passage of this important Act.

School districts are faced with a dilemma in the mandatory compliance not backed with adequate federal or state funding forcing them to streamline overheads, which means credentialed and skilled educators are no longer affordable.

Other undesirable alternatives are eliminating core services that could potentially transform life for talented students qualifying under IDEA including others seeking basic to advanced assistance.

Investments in education and health for citizens across the social, economic and political spectrum are monumental for national progress.

It can no longer be categorized as discretionary spending especially with definitive returns on these crucial programs directly benefiting the economy and the general society.

I extend my support to issues related to enhancing American lives and humanity at large.

Thank you for your solidarity and look forward to successful IDEA enactment.

With Best Wishes,

Padmini Arhant


Got something to say?

You must be logged in to post a comment.