The Secretary of the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, testified in front of the House Appropriations subcommittee and defended her reasoning for making budget cuts, including the cutting of $17.6 million from Special Olympics education programs for 2020.

Ms. DeVos has said that Special Olympics should be funded by philanthropy, not the federal government, or at the very least, not the Department of Education budget. She has gone on record and stated that she thinks that Special Olympics is a great program and that the decision to make those cuts was not an easy one.

In Minnesota, the money is used to help seed programs and get more programs and sports clubs in schools, and the money has to be matched before it can be dispersed. So, the original monies are being used in addition to personal and corporate giving to further programs. You can read more about Champion schools here, in which MN has several.

I am a huge supporter of Special Olympics, especially at the local level, and while it hurts to see that funding may be cut from this budget proposal, it does not mean that Special Olympics in Minnesota will be greatly affected. There are several corporate and individual sponsors who help keep the program going here. However, that may not be the case in other states who may not have as many sponsors and rely more on federal funding. As far as Owatonna Area Special Olympics is concerned, these cuts will not affect the local programming at this time. I, unfortunately, do not have the numbers for other delegations in Southern Minnesota, however, my guess is that they will not be affected much in the short term either.

The cuts to Special Olympics are not the only cuts that are being proposed for the budget, as the budget also showed that 29 programs would be eliminated; the cost of those programs is $6.7 billion.

Sources: WCCO, KARE 11, FOX 9