The Friday Fax

a weekly news bulletin from the National Parent Network on Disabilities
SEPTEMBER 27, 1996 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Number 12

Advocates Call on Congress to Delay IDEA Reauthorization Until Next Year

As the 104th Congress draws to a close, Senators Lott, Frist, and Harkin and their staffs have worked extremely hard to facilitate a “manager’s package” of amendments to S. 1578, the Senate bill to reauthorize IDEA, acceptable to Senators as well as parents, administrators, special and regular educators. The latest proposal, released Monday, made significant progress in several areas of concern to families. However, major problems remain regarding civil rights protections, educational issues and discretionary programs. With Congress expected to adjourn within a week, realistically not enough time is left to resolve these major issues and the many important differences between the Senate and House bills.

On Tuesday, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Education Task Force, including NPND and other parent/family-led organizations, met and agreed to request that the IDEA reauthorization be set aside until next year unless such issues as cessation of services, the elimination of special factors, stay-put, and many others could be resolved in the remaining few days of the session. A letter was sent to Congressional leaders outlining these concerns and urging Congress to delay the bill if it could not resolve these issues, and to pass legislation extending the IDEA discretionary programs and Part H for one year. Another letter, signed by parent, special and general education groups, requested a delay and urged support for a proposed increase in appropriations (see next article). However, education advocates are seriously concerned that Congress may go ahead with the legislation. One distressing possibility is that all or part of the bill could be attached to the appropriations bill.

Please call the leaders in the Senate and House and your own Representative and Senators. Ask them to: 1)delay IDEA reauthorization until next year; 2)pass a one-year extension of the IDEA discretionary programs and Part H; and, 3)support the increase in special education funding in the omnibus appropriations bill. Thank them for their efforts to pass IDEA. The Senators mentioned above, and in the House, Representatives Goodling, Cunningham, Clay, Kildee, Miller, and Scott, along with other Members of Congress, have all worked very hard to resolve the major outstanding issues.

Please call now to ensure that no last-minute Congressional action jeopardizes IDEA! The main Congressional switchboard number is 202-224-3121.


Congress Proposes Substantial Increases to IDEA Funding

At the time of circulation of this fax, it appears that the 104th Congress will increase substantially special education appropriations for next year, thanks in large part to Congressman Goodling’s leadership. The proposed FY 1997 omnibus appropriations bill adds (approximately) $750 million over FY 1996 funding levels to IDEA Part B. A $2 million increase for Parent Training and Information Centers is included only in the Senate appropriations bill. If Congress cannot agree on the many components of the omnibus appropriations bill by midnight Monday September 30, it is likely that a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) will be passed. Generally, CRs continue funding at current or reduced levels. In all probability, the $750 million increase for IDEA Part B funding and possible PTI increase would not be included in a CR. However, if a CR is passed, it is possible that Congress could later approve an omnibus appropriations bill, including the proposed increase in special education funding, before it adjourns.
HBO will air a special entitled “America Undercover: Without Pity” on Oct. 8. It deals with America’s response to persons with disabilities. Christopher Reeve will be the narrator.
Thank you to all who have searched your records to find canceled checks for us. We’ll let you know what we find.

IN MEMORY OF DIANA RODRIQUEZ-MEYER

Joan Tellefsen of TASK, CA passed on the following information to FF: After a long courageous struggle, Diana Rodriquez-Meyer of the TASK staff died on Friday, September 20 of complications related to cancer. Diana served on the TAPP Select Committee on Underserved Groups of Parents for a number of years. This year she was elected co-chair of the committee. She was the Bi-lingual Trainer at TASK . She did a fantastic job with the families from the Hispanic community as well as those from the Korean and Vietnamese groups. Our sincere expressions of sympathy go out to Diana’s family and to her TASK family as well. Leaders at TASK are planning a Memorial Fund to help families from the Hispanic community.
NPND * 1727 King Street, Suite 305 * Alexandria, VA 22314
(703)684-6763 (V/TDD) * (703)836-1232 (fax) * npnd@cs.com * www.npnd.org