Matheson, Love trade barbs on special ed cuts

Posted at 5:56 PM, Oct 24, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-24 21:15:40-04

SALT LAKE CITY - The race for the Fourth Congressional District seat remains heated. Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson held a press conference Wednesday saying Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love, his GOP opponent, will cut funds to special needs children.

Matheson was at the Carmen Pingree School for Children with Autism on Wednesday morning saying Love wants to cut the Department of Education, which would involve the loss of federal funds for special education.

The IDEA - or Intellectual Disabilities in Education Act - provides about $117 million in funding for services for 65,000 Utah students.

"My opponent wants to take away these opportunities. That means Utah families who depend on these programs would see $117 million vanish," Matheson said. "And where would the replacement funds come from?"

Love doesn't challenge Matheson's point about federal funding, but says that's because education is a state and local job.

"That's absolutely absurd. What I want to do and what I'm going to do is take the money out of Washington and put it in the classroom where it belongs," Love said.

Love also said she thinks Matheson should be ashamed of himself for using special needs kids for politics. Matheson says he was using an appropriate location to point out the impact of budget cuts.

Matheson and Love each have 43 percent of the vote, according to a poll conducted by Key Research earlier this month. There is a margin of error of plus or minus 7 percentage points in the poll.