U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans
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FY 2006 Budget Summary
Summary of the 2006 Budget
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Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Summary — February 7, 2005

Archived  Information

Section II. B.  Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Overview

The Administration is committed to working to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to learn and develop skills, engage in productive work, choose where to live, and participate in community life. The 2006 budget supports the President's New Freedom Initiative to help people with disabilities lead independent lives. Funds are requested for programs that can improve educational, employment, and independent living outcomes for people with disabilities.

The $12.1 billion request for Special Education programs includes support for programs to improve educational and early intervention outcomes for children with disabilities. For the Grants to States program, the President is requesting an increase of $508 million for a total of $11.1 billion. This level of funding would provide an estimated average of $1,599 per student for about 6.9 million children ages 3 through 21—the highest level of Federal support ever provided for children with disabilities. The budget also includes $440.8 million for the Grants for Infants and Families program and $384.6 million for the Preschool Grants program, both of which would be maintained at their 2005 levels.

The $203.0 million request for Special Education National Activities would support a variety of technical assistance, dissemination, training, and other activities that assist States, local educational agencies, parents, and others in improving results for children with disabilities. This amount includes $5.0 million (which would be combined with $2.0 million from Rehabilitation Demonstration and Training programs) to support a new Transition Initiative that would help States improve high school graduation rates and post-school outcomes for students with disabilities through the implementation of research-based employment, education, and transition practices, along with collection and analysis of student data. Personnel Preparation and Parent Information Centers would be funded at their 2005 levels. No funds are requested for the State Personnel Grants program, newly authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, for which fiscal year 2005 funds are still available for obligation. The Technical Assistance and Dissemination program would be reduced from $52.4 million to $49.4 million and the Technology and Media Services program would be reduced from $38.8 million to $32.0 million.

For Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research, the budget provides $3.1 billion to support comprehensive and coordinated vocational rehabilitation and independent living services for individuals with disabilities through research, training, demonstration, technical assistance, evaluation, and direct service programs. The request includes $2.7 billion for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) State Grants to help over 215,000 individuals with disabilities obtain or maintain employment.

Consistent with the Administration's multi-year initiative to reform the Federal government's overlapping training and employment programs, funds are not requested for three vocational rehabilitation programs in this account: Supported Employment State Grants, Projects with Industry, and the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers program. These programs provide services to individuals with disabilities that can be provided by the larger VR State Grants program. The 2006 request would eliminate funding for Recreational programs and reduce funding for Demonstration and Training programs, in part because of the elimination of funding earmarked in the fiscal year 2005 appropriation for one-time projects. Funding for most other discretionary rehabilitation programs would be maintained at the 2005 level.

The President's New Freedom Initiative promotes a variety of strategies to eliminate barriers that millions of Americans with disabilities face in the workplace, schools, and the community. Increased access to assistive technology is a key part of this initiative, because it has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life for such individuals, as well as their ability to engage in productive work. The request includes $15 million for the Alternative Financing Program (AFP), authorized under the Assistive Technology Act, for loan programs that help individuals with disabilities purchase assistive technology devices and services. By fiscal year 2005, as many as 35 States will participate in the AFP, and the request would fund as many as 15 additional awards to new or existing grantees.

The request includes $107.8 million for the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, which supports research, demonstration projects, and related activities designed to improve the lives of persons of all ages with disabilities. The 2006 request includes funding for new awards for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Model Systems projects, including funding for multi-center research on SCI therapies, interventions, and the use of technology.

Special Education State Grants

Grants to States

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $10,068.1 $10,589.7 $11,097.7
       
Children ages 3 through 21
   Number served (thousands)
6,723 6,831 6,933

The Grants to States program, which is authorized under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), makes formula grants that help States pay the additional costs of providing special education and related services to children with disabilities aged 3 through 21 years. If enacted, the request would result in a five-year increase for Grants to States of $4.8 billion, or 75 percent.

This bar graph shows the growth in annual funding for Special Education Grants to States from $6.3 billion in 2001 to $11.1 billion in the 2006 Presidents Request.

The request would provide an average of $1,599 for an estimated 6.9 million children with disabilities. At this level of funding, the Federal contribution would be maintained at approximately 19 percent of the national average per pupil expenditure for all children.

Under IDEA, States are required to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all children with disabilities. Services are provided in accordance with individualized education programs (IEPs) that are developed by teams that include: the child's parents; a special educator; a representative of the local educational agency; a regular educator, if appropriate; and others. In addition, services must be provided-to the maximum extent appropriate-in the least restrictive environment, which for most children means in classes with children who are not disabled. Under IDEA, children with disabilities must be included in general State and district-wide assessments, including the assessments required under NCLB. States must provide appropriate accommodations, where necessary, to enable children with disabilities to participate in these assessments, or alternate assessments for those children who cannot participate in regular assessments.

The request also includes $10.0 million that would be reserved for technical assistance to improve the capacity of States to meet the data collection requirements of the IDEA. Authority for this activity was included in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.

A PART analysis of this program during the 2004 budget process produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating. Since that time, the Department has improved its methodology for collecting data on graduation and dropouts, and is working to develop a measure to track post-school outcomes.

Preschool Grants

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $387.7 $384.6 $384.6

This program provides formula grants to help States make a free appropriate public education available to all children with disabilities ages 3 through 5. The Preschool Grants program supplements funds provided under the Grants to States program and helps to ensure that young children with disabilities are ready to learn when they enter school. The request would provide an estimated $523 per child for approximately 735,010 children.

A PART analysis of this program during the 2004 budget process produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating, primarily due to the absence of performance goals and data. In response, the Department has undertaken a multifaceted approach to collecting data on child outcomes.

Grants for Infants and Families

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $444.4 $440.8 $440.8

This program makes formula grants to help States implement statewide systems of early intervention services for all eligible children with disabilities from birth through age 2 and their families. The Grants for Infants and Families program helps State and local agencies identify and serve children with disabilities early in life when interventions can be most effective in improving educational outcomes. The budget request will provide support to 57 State agencies serving approximately 300,400 infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.

A PART analysis of this program during the 2004 budget process produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating. The Department's response included a plan to promote the development of State systems for collecting child outcome data that should help produce meaningful performance data for this program.

Special Education National Activities

Special Education National Activities programs support State efforts to improve early intervention and educational results for children with disabilities. The total request for National Activities is $203 million.

State Personnel Development

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $51.11 $50.7

   1 Funds were provided under the antecedent State Improvement grants program.

This program provides competitive grants to help States reform and improve their systems for personnel preparation and professional development in the areas of early intervention, educational, and transition services to improve results for children with disabilities. At least 90 percent of the funds must be spent on professional development activities and no more than 10 percent on State activities, such as reforming special education and regular education teacher certification (including recertification) or licensing requirements and carrying out programs that establish, expand, or improve alternative routes for State certification of special education teachers. No funds are requested for this program in fiscal year 2006 because the entire fiscal year 2005 appropriation remains available for obligation through September 30, 2006, and will be used to support 41 continuation awards and 8 new awards.

Technical Assistance and Dissemination

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $52.8 $52.4 $49.4

This program provides technical assistance and disseminates materials based on knowledge gained through research and practice. The proposed reduction reflects a restructuring of funding for technical assistance. This request is in addition to the separate $5 million request for a Transition Initiative and $10 million to be set-aside under the Grants to States program under a newly authorized technical assistance authority to help States meet data collection requirements. These other sources of funding for technical assistance will free up funds under this program for activities to help States, local educational agencies, teachers, parents, and others to implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004.

A PART review of this program produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating because of inadequate planning and the lack of meaningful long-term goals and measures. In response, the Department has developed indicators as part of an agency-wide effort on common measures for technical assistance programs and is now developing a data collection strategy for this program.

Personnel Preparation

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $91.4 $90.6 $90.6

This program helps ensure that there are adequate numbers of personnel with the skills and knowledge necessary to help children with disabilities succeed educationally. Program activities focus on both meeting the demand for personnel to serve children with disabilities and improving the qualifications of these personnel, with particular emphasis on incorporating knowledge gained from research and practice into training programs. Under the revised program authority, the Secretary is required to support training for leadership personnel and personnel who work with children with low incidence disabilities. Funds must also be used to support at least one activity in the broadly defined area of personnel development, along with providing enhanced support for beginning special educators. The request would provide $18.8 million for new awards and $70.9 million for continuation awards.

A PART analysis completed during the 2005 budget process produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating for this program, leading the Department to develop new program measures that focus on outcomes and to undertake a new data collection.

Parent Information Centers

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $26.2 $26.0 $26.0

Parent Information Centers provide parents with the training and information they need to work with professionals in meeting the early intervention and special education needs of their children with disabilities. The request would support new and continuation awards for about 96 centers as well as awards to provide technical assistance to the centers.

A PART review of this program produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating, primarily due to the lack of meaningful long-term performance measures or credible external evaluations that demonstrate concrete program outcomes or effectiveness. The Department is now developing a methodology for collecting performance data for newly established indicators.

Technology and Media Services

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $39.1 $38.8 $32.0

This program supports research, development, and other activities that promote the use of technologies in providing special education and early intervention services. Funds are also used for media-related activities, such as providing video description and captioning of films and television appropriate for use in classrooms for individuals with visual and hearing impairments and improving accessibility to textbooks for individuals with visual impairments. The proposed reduction reflects one-time projects funded in 2005.

Transition Iniative

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $5.0

The Special Education Transition Initiative would help States improve high school graduation rates and post-school outcomes for students with disabilities through the implementation of research-based employment, education, and transition practices, along with the collection and analysis of student data. An additional $2 million from Demonstration and Training programs under the Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research account will be used to support this initiative. The program would be carried out under the technical assistance authority in section 663 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Approximately 7 competitive grants would be made to States to design, develop, and implement programs to improve post-school outcomes.

This initiative responds to PART findings for the Grants to States program regarding poor coordination between education and vocational rehabilitation at the State level and insufficient focus on educational outcomes, such as post-school outcomes.

Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research

Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $2,584.2 $2,635.8 $2,720.2

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) State Grants provide formula grants to State vocational rehabilitation agencies to help individuals with disabilities become gainfully employed. A wide range of services are provided each year to over 1 million individuals with disabilities, including vocational evaluation, counseling and guidance, work adjustment, diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental impairments, education and vocational training, job placement, and post-employment services. If States are unable to serve all eligible individuals with disabilities who apply, they must give priority to individuals with the most significant disabilities. Services are provided according to an individualized plan for employment. In 2004, the VR program helped over 213,000 individuals with disabilities achieve employment outcomes, with over 92 percent entering the competitive labor market or becoming self-employed. Approximately 91 percent of the individuals who achieved employment have significant disabilities.

The $2.7 billion request, an increase of $84.3 million, would help State VR agencies increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in the labor force. The 3.2 percent increase is the amount necessary to satisfy the requirement to increase funding for the program by at least the percentage change in the CPIU for the 12-month period completed in October 2004. The request also includes $33.0 million for grants to Indian tribes.

Both the State Grants and the Grants to Indians programs received an Adequate rating under the PART process. The Department is addressing PART findings by improving the quality, timeliness, and accessibility of program performance data, as well as the extent to which such data are used for program management and improvement.

Client Assistance State Grants

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $12.0 $11.9 $11.9

This program makes formula grants to States for activities to inform and advise clients of benefits available to them under the Rehabilitation Act, to assist them in their relationships with service providers, and to ensure the protection of their rights under the Act. The request would provide advocacy services to approximately 62,600 individuals with disabilities.

Training

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $39.1 $38.8 $38.8

This program makes grants to State and other public or nonprofit agencies and organizations, including institutions of higher education, to help ensure that personnel with adequate skills are available to provide rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities. The request would provide $36.9 million for continuations and $1.3 million for new awards.

Demonstration and Training Programs

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $24.3 $25.6 $6.6

Demonstration and Training programs support projects that expand and improve the provision of rehabilitation and other services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act, including related research and evaluation activities. The request would provide a total of $6.6 million for new activities, including $2.0 million that would be used to jointly fund the Transition Initiative under the Special Education account. The request would eliminate $8 million for one-time projects in fiscal year 2005.

Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $16.8 $16.7 $16.7

This program supports systems in each State to protect and advocate for the legal and human rights of individuals with disabilities. These systems pursue legal and administrative remedies to ensure the protection of the rights of individuals with disabilities under Federal law and provide information on, and referrals to, programs and services for individuals with disabilities. The request will provide protection and advocacy services to approximately 88,500 individuals with disabilities.

Independent Living
(B.A. in millions)

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
Independent Living State Grants $22.0 $22.8 $22.8
Centers for Independent Living 73.6 75.4 75.4
Services for Older Blind Individuals 31.8 33.2 33.2
Total
127.4

131.4

131.4

These programs provide services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their independence and productivity and to help them integrate into the mainstream of American society. The State Grants program awards formula grants to States to expand and improve independent living services and to support the operation of centers for independent living. The Centers for Independent Living program makes competitive grants to support a network of consumer-controlled, nonresidential, community-based centers that provide a broad range of independent living services. Services for Older Blind Individuals assists individuals aged 55 or older whose severe visual impairments make competitive employment difficult to obtain, but for whom independent living goals are feasible. At the requested level, program funds would directly support 340 Centers for Independent Living, 78 designated State units under the State Grants program, and 56 grantees under the Services for Older Blind Individuals program.

A PART analysis completed during the 2005 budget process produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating for both the State Grants and the Centers programs, and the Department is working to develop evidence of program effectiveness, either through performance data or evaluation findings.

Program Improvement

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $0.9 $0.8 $0.8

These funds support activities that increase program effectiveness, improve accountability, and enhance the Department's ability to address critical areas of national significance in achieving the purposes of the Rehabilitation Act. The request would continue support for technical assistance activities and other activities focused on improving program performance, including performance measurement.

Evaluation

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $1.0 $1.5 $1.5

These funds are used to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of programs authorized by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The request would pay for a new longitudinal study of the State VR Services Program to be initiated in fiscal year 2005 and an evaluation of VR literacy projects being conducted under Demonstration and Training programs. The remaining funds would be used to support one new study.

Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $8.7 $10.6 $8.6

This program serves individuals who are deaf blind, their families, and service providers through a national headquarters Center with a residential training and rehabilitation facility and a network of 10 regional offices that provide referral, counseling, and technical assistance. The request does not include the additional $2.0 million earmarked for the Center in 2005, which is not expected to be fully expended in 2005. At the request level, the Center would provide direct services for approximately 95 adult clients, 12 high school students, and 10 senior citizens at its residential training and rehabilitation program and serve 2,000 individuals, 500 families, and 1,100 agencies through its regional offices.

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
B.A. in millions $106.7 $107.8 $107.8

NIDRR helps improve the lives of persons of all ages with disabilities through a comprehensive and coordinated program of research, demonstration projects, and related activities, including training of persons who provide rehabilitation services or who conduct rehabilitation research. NIDRR awards discretionary grants that support rehabilitation research and training centers, rehabilitation engineering research centers, and directed and field-initiated research and development projects that address diverse issues in rehabilitation, including ways to improve educational, employment, and independent living opportunities for persons with disabilities.

The request would allow NIDRR to continue to support programs integral to the President's New Freedom Initiative, including the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERC) program and the Assistive Technology Development Fund, and to make new awards for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Model Systems projects. In recent years, the RERCs have sponsored innovative assistive technology research that has helped individuals with disabilities to achieve greater independence. Similarly, the Assistive Technology Development Fund helps stimulate technological innovation in the private sector and strengthen the role of small businesses in developing new assistive technologies and bringing them to market. New SCI awards will support innovative projects for the delivery, demonstration, and evaluation of comprehensive medical, vocational, and other rehabilitation services for individuals with spinal cord injury, and will include funding for multi-center research on therapies, interventions, and the use of technology.

NIDRR received a PART rating of Results Not Demonstrated, largely due to the lack of specific long-term performance measures, and has responded by establishing long-term goals and indicators, as well as annual progress goals.

Assistive Technology
(B.A. in millions)

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
Assistive Technology programs $25.9 $25.7
Alternative Financing 4.0 $15.0
Total
25.9

29.8

15.0

The request includes $15 million for the Alternative Financing Program (AFP), which provides grants to States to establish or expand loan programs that help individuals with disabilities purchase assistive technology devices and services. To date, the AFP has provided or facilitated loans totaling $15.5 million to 1,515 individuals with disabilities. These loans are enabling individuals to acquire technology they might not otherwise be able to obtain that improves their quality of life and, in many cases, enables them to work or participate in other productive activities.

No funding is requested for other programs authorized under the Assistive Technology Act, as recently revised, including the AT State grant program, the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) for Assistive Technology program, and National Activities. While States have received more than 10 years of support for activities under the antecedent program, the Department has been unable to identify and document any significant benefits. The Administration has proposed to discontinue funding for the AT State grant program and instead, as part of the New Freedom Initiative, support the AFP, which holds greater promise of providing tangible benefits to individuals with disabilities. Activities carried out under the AT P&A program can be carried out under the Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights program.

A PART analysis of the AFP completed during the 2006 budget process produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating. The Department is developing new program goals and expects to have uniform data collection instruments in place for use in fiscal year 2006.

Special Institutions for Persons with Disabilities
(B.A. in millions)

  2004 2005 2006
Request
 
American Printing House
  for the Blind (APH)
$16.4 $16.9 $16.9
National Technical Institute
  for the Deaf (NTID)
53.5 55.3 54.5
Gallaudet University 100.2 104.6 104.6
Total
170.1

176.8

175.9

The American Printing House for the Blind provides special education materials for students who are visually impaired, offers advisory services for consumers, and conducts applied research. At the request level, APH would provide free educational materials to approximately 59,000 persons with visual impairments at an average per student allotment of $224.81, continue funding for a number of initiatives to improve its technical assistance and outreach services, and support a wide variety of continuing and new research projects.

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf provides postsecondary technical education and training for students who are deaf, and graduate education and interpreter training for persons who are deaf or hearing. NTID also conducts research and provides training related to the education and employment of individuals who are deaf. The request would provide $53.7 million for operations, including funds for the Endowment Grant program, and $800,000 to replace the roof of NTID's main classroom and administration building. The request represents a decrease of $872,000 below the 2005 appropriation reflecting completion of construction projects funded in 2005. In 2006, NTID would provide education and training to approximately 1,080 undergraduate and technical students, 120 graduate students, and 100 interpreters for persons who are deaf.

Gallaudet University offers undergraduate and continuing education programs for persons who are deaf, and graduate programs for persons who are deaf or hearing. The request provides $104.6 million for operations, including funds for the Endowment Grant program. Gallaudet also maintains and operates the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School and Model Secondary School for the Deaf. In 2006, Gallaudet is expected to serve approximately 1,425 undergraduate and professional studies students, 650 graduate students, and 365 elementary and secondary students.

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This page last modified—February 7, 2005 (mjj).