President Barack Obama’s $4.1 trillion budget includes a bump in funds for special education programs serving young kids, but spending on school-age children would largely remain flat. The budget released Tuesday calls for $80 million in added federal funding next year for early intervention and preschool services for children with disabilities. Included within the increase is $15 million earmarked for demonstration programs designed to “expand early screening, referral, and interventions services for infants and toddlers.” Meanwhile, however, grants to states under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act would stay level at $11.9 billion.
The spending proposal for the 2017 fiscal year – which begins Oct. 1 – marks Obama’s last in office. It is unlikely to be approved as-is by Congress, but offers an outline of the president’s priorities. “The budget is a roadmap to a future that embodies America’s values and aspirations: a future of opportunity and security for all of our families; a rising standard of living; and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids,” Obama wrote in the proposal. Beyond education, the president’s plan includes an additional $983,000 for disability-related efforts at the U.S. Department of Justice. The extra funds would “ensure the nation’s police are properly trained to interact with children and people with disabilities, and to support enforcement, technical assistance and the issuance of guidance and regulations related to the Americans with Disabilities Act,” the Justice Department said. There is also an increase of $10 million for home and community-based services and the plan includes provisions “expanding and simplifying eligibility to encourage more states to provide HCBS in their Medicaid programs,” according to budget documents. What’s more, Obama’s proposal includes $3.4 billion for vocational rehabilitation programs across the country and $154 million to continue housing assistance for more than 27,000 low-income households with people who have disabilities.
Greyhound Case:375K to Resolve ADA Regulations
In a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice, Greyhound will compensate passengers with disabilities and pay a fine to settle allegations that it repeatedly violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Justice Department said this week that Greyhound Lines Inc. will pay $300,000 to certain travelers identified by the federal agency and the company will hire a claims administrator to compensate an unlimited number of others who faced disability discrimination in interactions with the bus service. The agreement comes in response to a Justice Department complaint alleging that Greyhound failed to maintain lifts and other accessibility features on its buses, did not assist passengers with disabilities with getting on and off buses and did not allow individuals using wheelchairs to make travel reservations online.
“The ADA guarantees people with disabilities equal access to transportation services so that they can travel freely and enjoy autonomy,” said Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “(This) agreement marks a major step toward fulfilling the promise of the ADA, and we applaud Greyhound for entering the consent decree.” The deal, which must still be approved by a judge, calls for Greyhound to pay a civil penalty of $75,000 and improve its online booking system in addition to compensating passengers. The company has also agreed to make annual, in-person ADA training mandatory for all employees and contractors who interact with the public. Read more politics and law on disabilities at Special Education Today.
Susie Bean Gives Team