Legislative Advocacy

The Butte County SELPA is a proud and active member of several organizations that advocate on various special education issues, including the SELPA Administrators of California, the Coalition for Adequate Funding of Special Education (CAFSE), and the Council of Exceptional Children's Council of Special Education Administrators.  Staff from these organizations and coalition partners track and review the approximately 500 to 1000 bills proposed each legislative session and analyze and recommend positions based on potential impact to students with disabilities. While we track and review bills on a wide range of subjects including assessment, autism, behavior, credentialing, dyslexia, English, learners, and mental health, we are most frequently called upon to author letters of support to our state and federal representatives in the area of increased funding for services for students with disabilities.

In 1975, the United States took a major step forward in prioritizing inclusion and equity of one of our most underserved groups of citizens. With the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA), children with disabilities we assured a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).  Over six million children with disabilities are no longer limited by their families' ability to afford private education, forced to attend costly state institutions, or worse, stay home and miss out entirely on the benefits of a public education. IDEA ensures that children with disabilities may attend public schools alongside their peers to the maximum extent possible. And, schools and communities are enriched when all children have a right to a free and appropriate public education.

This November (2020) marks the 45th anniversary of IDEA. Yet, in spite of all that has been accomplished on behalf of children with disabilities, much more remains to be done.  Under the 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) legislation, the federal government committed to pay 40% of the average per-pupil expenditure for special education. In the 45-year history of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the federal contribution has always fallen far short of the congressional commitment to fully fund IDEA, and current federal funding is under 15% nationally, and approximately 8% in California. Local and state budgets have been forced to absorb the shortfall, and another effort is being mounted to create a path to full funding, in the form of House Resolution 1878 (Huffman, D-CA), and it's companion Senate Bill 866 (VanHollen, D-Maryland).  These measures would make regular increases to the federal commitment to fund the IDEA until it reaches the 40% threshold in fiscal year (FY) 2028–29. 

Contacting Your Representatives

State of California
Assemblymember James GallagherImage of the United State Congressional building lit in the early evening.
Senator Jim Nielsen

State Committees
Assembly Education Committee
Senate Education Committee

United States - Federal Level
Representative Doug LaMalfa 
Senator Kamala Harris
Senator Dianne Feinstein

Other Links

Coalition for Adequate Funding of Special Education 
Council for Exceptional Children - Council of Adminstrators of Special Education
SELPA Administrators of California
Association of California School Administrators
California Children's Trust - advocating for mental health funding