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ASHA Action Alert: Stop IDEA Funding Cuts!

There could be some big changes awaiting you during the next school year if Congress does not act soon to save programs for children with disabilities such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Many federal programs will automatically be cut by at least 7.8% on January 3, 2013, as federal spending cuts are being made based on the requirements of the Budget Control Act. This would result in a substantial blow to funding for children with disabilities and may result in major changes to how schools hire and retain their staff, including speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Take action today by urging Congress to protect IDEA funding!

When the Budget Control Act was passed in August of 2011 it established budget enforcement mechanisms—including caps on future appropriations—that were developed to reduce federal budget deficits over the 2012–2021 timeframe. These mechanisms would trigger automatic budget cuts across the board in a process called sequestration. According to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, sequestration would produce spending reductions every year ranging from 7.8% (in 2013) to 5.5% (in 2021) on federal programs such as IDEA. While the CBO estimates a 7.8% cut, others estimate the cuts could be as high as 9% in 2013.

Congress needs to hear from youTell them they should be investing in education, not slashing the limited funding that currently exists. Please personalize this letter with any experiences you may have faced due to the uncertainty over next year’s funding.

Funding shortfalls to IDEA have already contributed over $120 billion to federal deficit reduction since 2006 due to the government’s failure to properly fund IDEA. Sequestration will harm students with disabilities by shifting the financial burden onto state and local governments, which are already cash strapped. It also has the real potential of causing job losses for speech-language pathologists and audiologists.