Posted Sep. 25, 2014 | On September 10, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Fairness Restoration Act (S. 2790). IDEA ensures that children with disabilities receive certain early intervention services, special education and other related services. The legislation would ensure parents could recoup costs for experts engaged in bringing a case against a school district that is found to have not provided appropriate services to their children. The law currently permits families to challenge school districts if they believe their child has not been provided a free and appropriate education under IDEA. Though attorneys’ fees may be recovered, in 2006 the Supreme Court ruled that expert witness costs were not included. S. 2790 would allow parents who prevail in court to recover expert fees as well, bringing IDEA into alignment with other laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Also on September 10, Sen. Harkin introduced the IDEA Full Funding Act (S. 2789), which would increase spending on IDEA in order to bring the federal share of funding for special education up to 40 percent, which was the level originally envisioned in 1975 when the law was first enacted. The increase in funding would be paid for by increases in taxes for individuals earning more than $1 million annually. The House version of the bill (H.R. 4136) was previously introduced by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).
Courtesy of ANCOR