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THURSDAY, APRIL 25, 1985.
EDUCATION FOR THE HANDICAPPED
MADELEINE C. WILL, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES
SALLY H. CHRISTENSEN, DIRECTOR, BUDGET SERVICE, OFFICE OF PLANNING, BUDGET AND EVALUATION
CAROL CICHOWSKI, DIRECTOR, SPECIAL EDUCATION, REHABILITATION AND RESEARCH ANALYSIS DIVISION, OFFICE OF PLANNING, BUDGET AND EVALUATION
Mr. NATCHER. At this time, we take up the budget request for Education for the Handicapped in the Department of Education. We have before the committee Mrs. Madeleine C. Will, the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
Mrs. Will, it is a pleasure to have you before the committee. Before you proceed with your statement, tell us who you have there with you at the table?
INTRODUCTION OF STAFF
Mrs. WILL. Mr. Chairman, I have on my left Carol Cichowski; and on my right, Sally Christensen, both of whom are from our Office of Planning, Budget, and Evaluation.
Mr. NATCHER. We are delighted to have all of you, and we will be delighted to hear from you.
FISCAL YEAR 1986 BUDGET REQUEST
Mrs. WILL. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, we appreciate the opportunity to present the fiscal year 1986 budget request for Education for the Handicapped.
The request of $1.31 billion includes $1.16 billion for State Grants to provide financial assistance to States in educating the handicapped children for whom they are responsible under the Education of the Handicapped Act, and $142 million for Special Purpose Funds which support Federal discretionary activities directed at improving the education of handicapped children.
The request provides for maintenance of funding at the 1985 levels for the State Grant programs through which the Federal Government helps States and localities provide special education and related services to more than 4 million handicapped children. Special Purpose Fund programs will be maintained at their fiscal year 1985 levels, with the exception of three programs where reductions of $15.2 million are requested. Most of these programs are proposed at their 1985 levels in an effort to help control the Federal deficit.
We believe that our request reflects a continuing commitment to special education, as well as a balance between the need for Federal support and overall fiscal constraint.
We are requesting $1.14 billion for the handicapped State grant program in 1986, the same as the 1985 appropriation. About 4.176 million children are expected to receive special education and related services next year. Our request would provide over seven percent of the excess costs associated with educating a handicapped child.
In addition, we are requesting $29 million for Preschool Incentive Grants, the same level as appropriated for 1985. Incentive grants are aimed at encouraging States to help handicapped children at a very young age when intervention can be especially beneficial in increasing educational achievement in later years.
Funds will be distributed among the States based on an estimated 259,000 children aged 3 through 5 expected to be served by the States. Together, these two programs, which provide direct financial assistance to States, total $1.16 billion or almost 90 percent of our total budget request.
SPECIAL PURPOSE FUNDS
Our request for discretionary programs for the handicapped is $142 million, a decrease of $15.2 million below the 1985 appropriation.
Eight of our 11 discretionary programs would be level funded from 1985 to 1986. Included in this group are the Early Childhood Education program and the Secondary and Transitional Services
Three programs, for which a less pressing national need for Federal funding exists, are proposed for reduction: Deaf-Blind Centers, Special Education Personnel Development, and Special Studies.
I would emphasize that this reduction amounts to only about one percent of the 1985 appropriation for Education for the Handicapped.
The proposed level of $12 million for Deaf-Blind Centers is $3 million less than the 1985 appropriation of $15 million, reflecting a reduction in direct services to deaf-blind children that the States are required to serve.
This is in accordance with the Education of the Handicapped Act Amendments of 1983, which shifted the focus of this program away from direct services and toward the provision of technical assistance and training to States and service providers.
Direct services will be continued to children not required to be served by the States. It should be emphasized that support for the Deaf-Blind Centers program began in 1968 as part of the response to the special needs of deaf-blind children born during the rubella epidemic of 1963-1965. The program predates the Education of the
Handicapped Act requirements for States to provide educational services to these children.
SPECIAL EDUCATION PERSONNEL DEVELOPMENT
For Special Education Personnel Development, we are requesting $50 million, $11 million less than the 1985 appropriation level of $61 million. The request reflects a need for more reliable data and for a better understanding of how this program can be used effectively to address any personnel shortages.
We believe that it is appropriate to limit funding until these data are available. The Department is working to better identify what constitutes a shortage of personnel, how to identify a shortage, and how to focus resources on relieving a shortage.
We are requesting $2 million for Special Studies, a decrease of $1.2 million from the 1985 appropriation. At this level, all of the studies mandated by Congress in the Education of the Handicapped Act Amendments would be funded, including a study on costs of special education in State and local school districts, and another on the long-term effects of special education on handicapped children. We will continue our analysis of State-reported data for the Annual Report to Congress and conduct additional studies. We believe this is an adequate evaluation program.
OTHER DISCRETIONARY PROGRAMS
For Severely Handicapped Projects, we are requesting $4.3 million, the same as appropriated in 1985. These projects support demonstration and research activities in areas such as communication skills, independent living, and the effect of parental involvement in programming for severely handicapped children.
We are requesting $22.5 million for Early Childhood Education, the same level as appropriated in 1985. In addition to demonstration projects focusing on children from birth through 8 years of age, 30 percent of the funds appropriated under this program will be used for grants to States to assist them in planning, developing and implementing comprehensive services for preschool children. We are requesting $6.3 million for the Secondary and Transitional Services program, the same as 1985, to continue our efforts in improving the ability of our older handicapped children to attain the skills necessary to live in the world of adults. Funds will support demonstration projects, including projects which encourage cooperative planning by public agencies at the State and local levels which serve these handicapped children. In addition, two long-term projects studying intervention effectiveness and demographics will be continued.
For Postsecondary Programs, $5.3 million is being requested, the same as the previous year. These funds support programs serving postsecondary-age students who are in a variety of settings, such as vocational-technical schools and community colleges, as well as demonstration projects in postsecondary education.
For the Innovation and Development program, we are requestin $16 million in 1986, the same as 1985. Funds will continue to su port field-initiated research and student research projects, in add tion to research and development activities on educational pro lems of special populations of handicapped children.
For the Media Services and Captioned Films program, the 19 appropriation level of $16.5 million is requested. This program su ports captioning of films and television programs for the hearin impaired, as well as projects aimed at increasing the developmen awareness and use of educational media technology for a broa range of handicapping conditions. As in 1985, emphasis will contin ue to be placed on the closed-captioning of television programmin We are proposing to maintain the fiscal year 1985 funding lev for the Regional Resource Centers program at $6 million. Consis ent with the amendments of 1983, the objectives of these cente will be to continue the provision of technical assistance to Stat for capacity building, educational programming and special educ tion administration.
Finally, we propose to maintain the Recruitment and Inform tion program at $1 million, the same level as 1985. Funds will co tinue to support two national clearinghouse projects begun in fisc year 1984, dealing with the recruitment of educational personn and dissemination of information concerning educational opport nities for the handicapped.
APPROPRIATION LANGUAGE CHANGE REQUESTED
We are requesting a technical change be made to our 1985 app priations language to make funds appropriated in 1985 for our S cial Education Personnel Development program available on normal fiscal year basis beginning October 1, 1984.
Under the current appropriation law, funds will not becor available until July 1, 1985. A total of 628 continuation grants ha project periods which expire on May 31. Unless language is acted, no funds will be available for these projects in the month June, and ongoing activities under projects will be interrupted. The proposed language was transmitted in the supplemental p tion of the 1986 request.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The biographical sketch of Mrs. Will follows:]
DEPARTMENT OF Education-Office of SpeciAL EDUCATION And RehabilitATIV SERVICES
Name: Madeleine C. Will.
Position: Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Birthplace and date: Hartford, Connecticut, August 9, 1945.
Education: Hartford College for Women, 1965, A.A.; Smith College, 1967, University of Toronto, 1969, M.A.
Present: Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services 1982: Member, Maryland Department of Mental Retardation and Developme Disabilities Expansion Committee.
1982: Consultant, Rock Creek Foundation, Silver Spring, Maryland.
1981: Chairman, Government Affairs Committee, Maryland Association for Retarded Citizens.
1981: Founding Member, Real Rights.
1979: Chairman, Government Affairs Committee, Montgomery County Association for Retarded Citizens.
1977: Trustee, Hartford College, Hartford, Connecticut.
1977: Committee Member, Metro Area Council for Public Information and Advoсасу.
1975: Board Member, Home Care Services for the Handicapped. 1974: Co-founder, Kensington Nursery School Sheltered Classroom. 1970: Editorial Assistant, American Enterprise Institute.
Mr. NATCHER. Your statement sets forth your request for special education and rehabilitative services. What is the total amount requested?
Mrs. WILL. The amount requested is $1.3 billion, which is $15 million below the 1985 appropriation.
Mr. NATCHER. In general, do you think the States and the local school districts are doing a good job in educating handicapped children?
Mrs. WILL. Yes, Mr. Chairman, we know this through a variety of mechanisms, through our monitoring system, through complaints that we receive, contacts with people at the State and local level, and through our data analysis and our annual reports. More and more children are being served, and the questions we receive. from both local school systems and parents have to do with the quality of services, as opposed to the development of services or the access of students to special education. So we feel that this is a program that really involves a rather small amount of Federal dollars as compared to its leveraging effect.
State and local school systems are responding very nicely to the requirement of providing free, appropriate public education for handicapped students.
EFFECT OF BUDGET PROPOSAL
Mr. NATCHER. According to the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, your proposal to freeze funding for the education of the handicapped programs at the 1985 level would force States to reduce their programs and services for handicapped children.
Do you believe, Mrs. Will, that your budget will result in a reduction in services to handicapped children?
Mrs. WILL. Mr. Chairman, we believe that our proposed reductions will have a slight effect on services for handicapped children. The average allotment of Federal funds would decrease from about $274 per child to $272, and we feel that this would have a marginal impact on the quality of services.
We are actually convinced that States will continue to provide better and better services, providing they receive the technical assistance that they ask for, and which we are prepared to give and have been giving over a period of years.