Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Summary February 5, 2007
Section II. B. Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
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. Funds are requested in fiscal year 2008 for programs that can improve educational, employment, and independent living outcomes for people with disabilities.
The $11.5 billion request for Special Education programs includes support for programs to improve educational and early intervention outcomes for children with disabilities. The Administration is requesting $10.5 billion for the Grants to States program, $423.1 million for the Grants for Infants and Families program, and $380.8 million for the Preschool Grants program, the same as the 2007 level for all three programs. For the Grants to States program, the request would provide an estimated average of $1,528 per student for about 6.9 million children ages 3 through 21.
The $189.4 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. Technical Assistance and Dissemination, Personnel Preparation, and Parent Information Centers would be funded at their 2007 levels. No funds are requested for the State Personnel Grants program because all of the fiscal year 2007 funds will be available for making awards in fiscal year 2008. The Technology and Media Services program would be reduced from $38.4 million to $25.1 million, to reflect the fact that funding is not needed to support previously earmarked awards.
For Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research, the budget provides $3.2 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 $2.8 billion for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) State Grants to help over 200,000 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 2008 request would also eliminate funding for Recreational programs.
The request includes $26.1 million for the Assistive Technology (AT) State grant program and National Activities. These programs enable individuals to acquire technology they might not otherwise be able to obtaintechnology that improves their quality of life, and in many cases, enables them to work or participate in other productive activities. No funds are requested for the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) for Assistive Technology program, which provides services that are authorized and can be provided by other P&A programs.
The request includes $106.7 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. This level would fund a comprehensive program of research and related activities designed to generate new knowledge and promote its effective use to improve the ability of people with disabilities to perform activities of their choice in the community, and also to expand society's capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for its citizens with disabilities. The request also includes $17.6 million for the American Printing House for the Blind, $56.3 million for the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, and $107.0 million for Gallaudet University.
Grants to States
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. The request would provide an average of $1,528 for an estimated 6,855,000 children with disabilities.
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 providedto the maximum extent appropriatein 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 $15.0 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.
PART assessments of the program were conducted in 2002 and 2005. In 2002 the program was rated as Results Not Demonstrated. The Department has addressed most of the concerns raised in the 2002 analysis, which led to an Adequate rating in the 2005 assessment.
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 $510 per child for approximately 747,000 children.
A 2002 PART analysis of this program produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating, primarily due to the absence of performance goals and data. In response, the Department has developed goals and measures and has undertaken a multifaceted approach to collecting data on child outcomes, and initial data on the status of children entering the program is expected in fiscal year 2007.
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 328,700 infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
A PART analysis of this program in 2002 produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating. In response, the Department implemented a multifaceted approach to promote the development of State data systems and collect child outcome data. Initial data on the status of children entering the program is expected in fiscal year 2007.
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 $189.4 million.
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 2008 because the 2007 funds available under the continuing resolution remain available for obligation through September 30, 2008, and will be used to support 45 continuation awards and 6 new awards in fiscal year 2008.
This program funds competitive grants for technical assistance and dissemination of materials based on knowledge gained through research and practice. This request is in addition to the separate $15.0 million to be set-aside under the Grants to States program to help States meet data collection requirements.
A PART review of this program in 2004 produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating primarily because of the lack of meaningful performance measures. In response, the Department has (1) developed and implemented three annual measures as part of an agency-wide effort on common measures for technical assistance programs, (2) developed and begun implementation of two long-term measures and one efficiency measure, and (3) begun planning for an evaluation of the program.
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. The Department 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 $18.1 million for new competitive grants and $71.6 million for continuation awards.
A PART analysis completed in 2003 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. In addition, the Department is planning a 4-year independent evaluation of the program, which is scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2007.
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 competitive grants and continuation awards for about 102 centers as well as awards to provide technical assistance to the centers.
A PART review of this program in 2004 produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating, primarily due to the lack of meaningful performance measures. In response, the Department has developed and implemented three annual measures as part of an agency-wide effort on common measures for technical assistance programs. The Department also has developed and begun implementation of two long-term measures and one efficiency measure for the program.
This program supports competitive awards for 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 the fact that funding is not needed to support previously earmarked awards.
A PART review of this program in 2006 produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating due to a lack of performance measures or data to evaluate program outcomes. In response, the Department has established several measures and is collecting performance data that will be available in 2007 and 2008. The Department also is planning an evaluation of the program.
This program provides 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. States that are unable to serve all eligible individuals with disabilities who apply must give priority to individuals with the most significant disabilities. Services are provided according to an individualized plan for employment. In 2006, the VR program helped over 200,000 individuals with disabilities92 percent of whom have significant disabilitiesachieve employment outcomes.
The $2.8 billion request, the same as the 2007 level, would help State VR agencies increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in the labor force. The request also includes $34.4 million for grants to Indian tribes. The request does not include the inflation adjustment specified in the authorizing statute, which would increase the total by $36.9 million over the 2007 level. In the past 2 years, funding for this program increased by $201.3 million, or 7.6 percent, while funding for other major formula grant programs, such as Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies and Special Education Grants to States, saw declines in funding.
Both the State Grants and the Grants to Indians programs, which were assessed in 2002 and 2004, respectively, received an Adequate PART rating. 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.
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 65,490 individuals with disabilities.
This program makes competitive 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. A 2006 PART assessment, which produced a rating of Adequate, found that most of the scholarship recipients fulfilled the "payback" requirement to work in the public sector, but looming retirements, escalating tuition, and problems with grantee data present challenges to program effectiveness. The 2008 request will support $29 million for 204 ongoing awards that began in previous fiscal years and $8.8 million for 57 new awards.
Demonstration and Training Programs support competitive grants for projects that expand and improve the provision of rehabilitation and other services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act, including related research and evaluation activities. The $6.8 million request, an increase of $329,000 over the 2007 level, would cover continuation costs of grants awarded in previous fiscal years. The request also includes $1.4 million to continue four State grants expected to be funded in fiscal year 2007 that will help States use promising practices in collaborative transition planning and service delivery to improve the postsecondary education and employment outcomes of students with disabilities. A 2005 PART assessment of this program produced a rating of Results Not Demonstrated and found that program management could be improved by long- range planning designed to direct resources to identified needs.
This formula grant 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 76,560 individuals with disabilities.
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. The formula-based Services for Older Blind Individuals program 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 2003 PART analysis 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 through collection of performance data or evaluation findings.
These funds, awarded through competitive grants and contracts, 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.
These funds are used to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of programs authorized by the Rehabilitation Act. The request would enable the Department to continue support for a multi-year study of the post-program experiences of former VR State Grants program consumers and to initiate an independent, comprehensive evaluation of the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults.
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, training, and technical assistance. At the request level, the Center would provide direct services for approximately 122 clients at its residential training and rehabilitation program, and serve an estimated 1,600 individuals, 450 families, and 1,050 agencies through its regional offices. In addition to the $8 million for operations, the Administration is seeking $500,000 under the Rehabilitation Evaluation program for a comprehensive evaluation of HKNC.
The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (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, the Rehabilitation Research Training Centers (RRTC) program, and the Model Systems projects for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Burn Injury. In recent years, the RERCs have sponsored innovative assistive technology research that has helped individuals with disabilities to achieve greater independence. The RRTCs conduct research, training, and information dissemination in identified problem areas. SCI awards support innovative projects for the delivery, demonstration, and evaluation of comprehensive medical, vocational, and other rehabilitation services for individuals with spinal cord injury, including multi-center research on therapies and interventions.
NIDRR, which initially received a Results Not Demonstrated rating following a 2003 PART analysis, was re-assessed in 2005 and earned an Adequate rating. Recommended follow-up actions include collecting baseline performance data for long- term performance goals; taking steps to ensure that complete, timely, and accurate performance information is available for funded activities; and establishing a regular schedule for announcing grant competitions and competition results to allow applicants to better schedule their workload.
The Assistive Technology Act (AT Act) supports grants to States to increase access to and funding for assistive technology devices and services for individuals with disabilities of all ages. The request includes $26.1 million for Assistive Technology programs, of which $25.1 million would support the AT State grant program and $1.0 million would support technical assistance required under the AT Act's National Activities authority. No funds are requested for the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) for Assistive Technology program, which provides services that are authorized and can be provided by other P&A programs. In addition, no funds are requested for the separate Alternative Financing program (AFP), which is no longer authorized. State plans submitted to RSA during 2006 for the AT State grant program indicate that the vast majority of States have an AFP in place and the majority of those AFPs are being supported with funds from the AT State grant program.
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 58,500 persons with visual impairments at an average per student allotment of $237.06, 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 Printing House received a PART rating of Results Not Demonstrated in 2005, primarily due to inadequate performance measures. In response, APH is implementing five new performance measures in fiscal year 2007.
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 support education and training for approximately 1,052 undergraduate and technical students, 122 graduate students, and 120 interpreters for persons who are deaf, and includes $913,000 for the second installment of a $1.7 million construction project to replace and update major equipment necessary to maintain the infrastructure of campus buildings. NTID will receive the first installment of $792,000 for this project in fiscal year 2007.
NTID was rated Adequate by a 2005 PART analysis. The Department is working with NTID to identify strategies to further improve student outcomes.
Gallaudet University offers undergraduate and continuing education programs for persons who are deaf, and graduate programs for persons who are deaf or hearing. Gallaudet also maintains and operates the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School and Model Secondary School for the Deaf. The request provides $106.4 million for operations, including funds for the Endowment Grant program, and $600,000 for the Department to conduct a study to identify barriers to and strategies for improving Gallaudet's performance. The University would serve approximately 1,900 undergraduate and graduate students and 365 elementary and secondary education students with these funds in 2008.
A 2005 PART analysis rated Gallaudet as Ineffective, primarily due to inadequate progress in achieving its annual and long-term performance goals in the key areas of persistence, graduation, and post-school outcomes. The University was reassessed in 2006 and received a rating of Adequate based on information provided by the University and actions taken by the Department to improve its oversight of Gallaudet. The Department plans to continue to work with Gallaudet on ways to improve program outcomes.
For further information contact the ED Budget Service.
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