Submitted by Patrick Cassidy, Communications Director.
(Jan. 20, 2022) WASHINGTON, DC – Following last week’s visit to eastern Connecticut by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02) today announced the official allocation of more than $4.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding for early childhood and special education programming in Connecticut K-12 public schools. This funding comes in addition to the initial American Rescue Plan funding to school districts that was distributed last spring—including over $121 million for school districts in CT-02, part of more than $1 billion that was distributed to school districts statewide. The funding will continue to help eastern Connecticut schools offset pandemic-driven deficits to local budgets, and to support the education of infants, toddlers, and students served under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).
As a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee, Courtney worked with his colleagues to draft and authorize the portion of the American Rescue Plan Act (H.R. 1319) that provided this new round of relief funding for special education in local schools.
“Funding dedicated specifically for special education was one of our top priorities when passing the American Rescue Plan,” said Rep. Courtney. “Keeping our schools open and seriously addressing learning loss has been one of our top priorities, it’s been the Department of Education’s number-one focus this year, and I’m glad to announce this new support for special education in eastern Connecticut as we welcome the Secretary to some of our local schools for a visit.”
“We know that the disruptions to in-person learning caused by the pandemic have disproportionately impacted America’s children with disabilities,” Courtney continued. “I’ve heard from parents and educators across eastern Connecticut about the challenges that special education students faced in receiving the services and supports they need and have a right to under IDEA. With these American Rescue Plan funds, Connecticut educators and schools will have the resources they need to really address the educational needs of children with disabilities.”
The special education support for eastern Connecticut schools comes as part of the state’s total amount of $31.55 million in IDEA relief funding through the American Rescue Plan, which Courtney announced in September 2021. The funding will add to IDEA’s three major formula grant programs:
- IDEA Part B Grants (Section 611) for children and youth with disabilities aged 3 through 21
- IDEA Part B Preschool Grants (Section 619) for children with disabilities aged 3 through 5
- IDEA Part C Grants for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families
According to the final American Rescue Plan IDEA allocations released by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), eastern Connecticut schools are set to receive more than $4.4 million in support for early childhood and special education programming. According to CSDE, the Enfield School District will receive over $275,000 in IDEA support. The New London and Norwich School District will receive awards of more than $228,000, and $343,000, respectively. The Plainfield School District will receive more than $102,000, and the Windham School District will receive over $197,000.
For the full list of final funding allocations released by CSDE, click here.
Courtney has worked to support eastern Connecticut schools throughout the pandemic—his bill to protect federal Impact Aid for public schools, particularly those in Ledyard and Groton, was signed into law by President Trump on December 7, 2020. In Groton and Ledyard alone, public schools support the education of nearly 2,000 schoolchildren from families that rely on federal Educational Impact Aid funding. Click here to read more.
On Tuesday, Courtney announced that his new bipartisan bill to support local schools through the Impact Aid program—the Supplemental Impact Aid Flexibility Act—had officially passed the House in a bipartisan landslide, 414-6, and is now set to become law.
Last week, Secretary Cardona travelled to Groton, CT with Rep. Courtney to visit two schools—Thames River Magnet School and Ella T. Grasso Technical High School—for a discussion on career technical education. They also spoke with students and teachers about the school’s manufacturing pipeline and the Biden Administration’s efforts to support career technical education. Read more from Kim Drelich and The Day: U.S. Secretary of Education visits Groton to highlight career technical education.