Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/18/2001 01:45 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
             SJR 26-FEDERAL AID FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION                                                                       
MR.  JERRY BURNETT,  staff  to  Senator Green,  read  the  following                                                            
sponsor statement.                                                                                                              
     In 1976,  the United States Congress  passed PL 94-142,  a                                                                 
     portion  of the Individuals  with  Disabilities Education                                                                  
     Act, providing  a national framework  for providing  free,                                                                 
     appropriate  public education  to all students regardless                                                                  
     of the  level or severity of  disability.  Along with  the                                                                 
     guarantee  of  appropriate  education,  Congress promised                                                                  
     states  that it would  provide funding  for 40 percent  of                                                                 
     these special education services.                                                                                          
     Since  the passage  of the Individuals  with Disabilities                                                                  
     Education  Act, Alaska has provided the special  education                                                                 
     services required  by federal law.  However, Congress  has                                                                 
     failed  to  live  up  to  its  promise  of providing   the                                                                 
     necessary  funding  to cover  the costs  of this mandate,                                                                  
      instead providing between 12 and 15 percent annually of                                                                   
     Alaska's special education costs.                                                                                          
         SJR 26 petitions the U.S. Congress to provide the                                                                      
     promised level of funding for special services.                                                                            
MR. BURNETT explained that  for the current fiscal year, the federal                                                            
appropriation  is  about  15  percent  of  special  education  costs                                                            
nationwide.  The  budget proposed by President Bush  for FY 02 is at                                                            
17 percent.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR LEMAN asked if  the resolution asks Congress to fill the gap                                                            
between 15 and 40 percent.                                                                                                      
MR. BURNETT said  it does. He pointed out the state  currently funds                                                            
that amount.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR LEMAN  asked for clarification of the phrase,  "significant,                                                            
genuine assistance" on page 2, line 12.                                                                                         
MR. BURNETT said genuine  assistance means up to the level promised,                                                            
and that SJR 26  was patterned after a resolution  passed in another                                                            
SENATOR LEMAN  moved to amend  SJR 26 (Amendment  1) so that  copies                                                            
are also sent  to U.S. Representative John Boehner,  Chairman of the                                                            
House Committee  on Education  and the Workforce,  and U.S.  Senator                                                            
James  Jeffords,  Chairman   of the  Senate   Committee  on  Health,                                                            
Education, Labor and Pensions.   There being no objection, Amendment                                                            
1 was adopted.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR  LEMAN moved CSSJR  26(HES) from  committee with  individual                                                            
recommendations and its  accompanying zero fiscal note.  There being                                                            
no objection, the motion carried.                                                                                               

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