Senator Bernie Sanders said Tuesday that he will ask the Senate to approve a $10 billion increase for special education. A Sanders amendment would increase the budget for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which helps about 7 million children with disabilities. In the process, the extra federal funds would relieve pressure on local property taxpayers. To pay for the added funding, Sanders would rescind federal income tax breaks for people making more than $1 million a year.
Sanders said the federal government has reneged on a 30-year-old pledge to provide almost half of the cost of special education.
"Over 30 years ago, the federal government made a promise to school districts around the country to fund 40 percent of the cost of special education. The federal government has not kept its commitment.
"Special Education is an expensive proposition and because of inadequate federal funding, property taxes in Vermont and around the country are increasing while kids with special ed needs are not getting the attention they deserve.
"My amendment this week is part of an ongoing effort to begin the process of strong federal funding for special education."
To listen to a Vermont Pubic Radio report on Sanders' amendment, click here.