Update March 27, 2019: Amid criticism over the DeVos budget, President Donald Trump today announced he will override her action and that Special Olympics funds will not be eliminated.
Budget would also slash funds for programs for economically disadvantaged and blind students
By Liz Alper
Photos: 2011 Special Olympics event held at Helix High
March 26, 2019 (Washington D.C.) -- On Tuesday, President Donald Trump's Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos proposed massive budget cuts, nearly $18 million, to Special Olympics, a worldwide organization that allows children and adults with developmental disabilities to participate in athletics.
It's the third year in a row that DeVos has tried to cut Special Olympics' funds, but the first attempt in a Democrat-controlled House. She tried twice in the Republican-controlled House, but was also denied.
"We had to make some difficult decisions with this budget," DeVos said, though she acknowledged, "I think the Special Olympics is an awesome organization, one that is supported by the philanthropic sector as well.”
Rep. Marc Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, in response to DeVos admitting she did not know how many children with disabilities benefit from Special Olympics, said that more than 272,000 children benefit from the program.
Even though DeVos proposed a budget cut to Special Olympics, she announced that she would donate part of her salary to the program. A spokeswoman said that DeVos made the donation last year and added that DeVos is "personally supportive of Special Olympics and its mission." But that donation would replace only a small fraction of the $18 million in proposed cuts.
The proposed budget holds steady the amount of core funding for core special education programs, including grants to states under the Individuals with Disabilities Act.