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URGENT ATTENTION NEEDED: ACTION ALERT RE: IDEA FUNDING FROM COPAA

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  • Alpy2@aol.com
    This is URGENT - action is needed today, tomorrow or Thursday at the latest! Please distribute this widely among friends and contacts - thanks! Courtesy of
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 11, 2009
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      This is URGENT - action is needed today, tomorrow or Thursday at the latest!  Please distribute this widely among friends and contacts - thanks!
       
      Courtesy of COPAA (http://www.copaa.org - The Council of Parent Attorneys & Advocates):
       
      Preserve Special-Ed Funding Clause; Stop State/Local Cuts (10 minute activist)

      Thank Congress for Acting on Stimulus Bill and Ask Them to Preserve Special Education Funding and Prevent Diversion to Other Programs; Follow the House Approach in Conference

      * * *  Please share with other colleagues, lists, and groups * * * *

      We thank the Senate and House for their swift action on the Stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).   Both bills will increase funding for programs for children with disabilities through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  The two bills will now be reconciled in Conference.  Please ask Congress to protect IDEA's Supplantation Clause, which prevents states and school districts from cutting their special-education funding when they get federal money.  Please contact Congress on Wednesday or Thursday, as explained below, and send a copy of your letter or email to COPAA at protectidea@...   The Stimulus bill is moving very quickly.

                   Preserve Supplantation Clause-Part of IDEA for 34 Years

      Thank Congress for acting quickly on the Stimulus bill and increasing IDEA funding.  But ask Congress to reject Section 1413 of the Senate bill, which would permit the Secretary of Education to waive IDEA's supplantation clause.  This clause prohibits states and school districts from cutting their own special education spending by the amount of federal IDEA money they receive.  The IDEA has prohibited such supplantation since its enactment in 1975, over three decades ago.  See IDEA ยง 612(a)(17)(c).  Ask Congress to follow the House's approach, which leaves the supplantation clause intact and ensures that money appropriated for special education goes to special education. 

                Waiving Supplantation Clause Can Result in Cuts to Special Education Spending By States/School Districts

      Waiving the clause would have a real and direct impact on children with disabilities.  If states and school districts are permitted to reduce their spending in this manner, special education spending would be substantially cut, clearly not the result intended by House or Senate when they adopted bills increasing IDEA funding.  The waiver language applies to all IDEA money that a state or school district receives-not just the increase under the stimulus bill.    

      Through the IDEA, Congress has acted to improve the educations provided to children with disabilities and to ensure that they receive needed services.  Even today, children with disabilities receive inadequate educations.  Permitting states to seek waivers that would allow them to cut special education funding will worsen the problem.  Money spent on appropriate services today will enable many students to achieve maximum independence as adults. 

         Follow The House Approach. Stay True to Congress' Intent: Keep Special Education Monies for Special Education

      It is important to follow the House approach.  Preserve the supplantation clause and reject Section 1413 of the Senate Bill.  Both stimulus bills are intended to increase special-education funding-not to decrease it. The supplantation prohibition has been an important part of IDEA's protections for children with disabilities for 34 years.  This is one thing that should not change. 

          How to Contact Congress (Be a 10 Minute Activist):

      Ask Congress to follow the House approach and preserve the supplantation clause.  It will be easiest if you compose your letter in a word processing program and then cut and paste it as explained below.  In your letter, make some of the points above.  Personalize your letter.  Write a little about yourself and your connection to disability (e.g. "I have been advocating for children with disabilities in Kansas for five years" or "As the mother of an 8 year old who is deaf, it is important to me that IDEA be adequately funded.")  This can be very short; it does not have to be long. 

      1.  Fax the letter to the House and Senate Conference Committee members below or make a phone call to their offices.  If you cannot do them all, do the ones with the asterisks (first 2 under Senate and House).  This is the highest priority.  If you cannot send a Fax or call, we've provided email addresses when we have them.   

      2.  Email a copy of your your letter to COPAA as a word processing document or PDF.  Please address it to "Dear Conferees" and put your name, address (including city, state, and zip) on it.  We'd like to have them together as a group so they don't get lost in all the email going into Congress.  Our email address is protectidea@....  Even if you make a phone call, please do this step, too. We will deliver the letters we receive to the asterisked Congressmen and Senators below, as well as other key members of Congress.

      3.  You can also email your Congressional Representative and Senator, but the  Conference Committee members are most important right now. Email your Representatives here: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
      and email your Senators here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

      4. TIME IS OF ESSENCE!  The Conference bill is moving very quickly.  Please do this on Wednesday or Thursday (and Wednesday is better).
      ==================
      HOUSE CONFEREES:
      ** Congressman David Obey, Chair, Appropriations Committee, Fax: 715-842-4488; Phone: 202-225-3365. Email form limited to constituents.

      ** Congressman Henry Waxman, Chair, Energy & Commerce Committee (handles health care issues), Fax: 202-225-4099  Phone: 202-225-3976. Email form limited to constituents.


      Congressman Charles Rangel, Chair, Ways and Means Committee, Fax: 202-225-0816; Phone: 202-225-4365; Email form limited to constituents.

      Congressman Jerry Lewis, Ranking Member, Appropriations Committee, Fax: 202-225-6498; Phone: 202-225-5861. Email form limited to constituents.

      Congressman Dave Camp, Ranking Member, Ways and Means Committee, Fax: 202-225-9679;  Phone: 202-225-3561. Email form limited to constituents.
       
      ==================
      SENATE CONFEREES:

      ** Senator Harry Reid, Majority Leader, Fax: 202-224-7327; Phone: 202-224-3542.  Email form: http://reid.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm

      ** Senator Daniel Inouye, Chair, Appropriations Committee, Fax: 202-224-6747 or (808)541-2549; Phone: 202-224-3934.  Email form: http://inouye.senate.gov/abtform.html


      Senator Thad Cochran, Ranking Member, Appropriations Committee, Fax: 202-224-9450; Phone: 202-224-5054
      Email form: http://cochran.senate.gov/email.html

      Senator Max Baucus, Chair, Finance Committee, Fax: 202-224-9412; Phone: 202-224-2651
      Email form: http://baucus.senate.gov/contact/emailForm.cfm?subj=issue

      Senator Charles Grassley, Ranking Member, Finance Committee, Fax: 202-224-6020; Phone: 202-224-3744; Email form: http://grassley.senate.gov/contact.cfm

      TTY for all Members of Congress: TTY: 202-225-1904

      Thank you,
      Bob Berlow, Chair, Government Affairs
      Jess Butler, Co-Chair, Government Affairs
      Council of Parent Attorneys & Advocates (COPAA)
      A National Voice for Special Education Rights and Advocacy
      www.copaa.org
      email: protectidea@...

       
      Sandy, Illinois (alpy2@...)
      Volunteer Co-Webmaster, Our Children Left Behind (http://www.ourchildrenleftbehind.com) (IDEA & NCLB reauthorization)


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