Federal Appropriations Bill for Education Gains U.S. Senate Subcommittee Approval

Today (Sept. 6), the U.S. Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee unanimously approved a bipartisan FY2018 funding bill for the federal Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies, that is $3 billion above the FY2017 level and $27.5 billion above the President’s budget request.

The Senate subcommittee also rejected President Trump’s proposed cuts to teacher training and afterschool funding (see below).   Full Senate committee consideration of the funding measure is scheduled for Thursday.  The 2018 federal fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

Here are capsule descriptions of some of the key funding provisions for K-12 education:

Overall, the Senate bill includes $68.3 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Education and the programs it administers, an increase of $29 million above the FY2017 level, including the following amounts for specific programs:

  • Title I Grants — $15.5 billion, a $25 million increase. Title I provides basic and flexible funding to low-income school districts, which allows States, local school districts, and schools to decide how to best use limited resources to improve student outcomes.
  • Title II, Part A  Educator Professional Development (Teacher and Principal Training) Grants — $2.1 billion, which maintains FY 2017 funding levels.  (Both the House spending committee and the Trump administration have proposed scrapping the program, so it remains in jeopardy despite the Senate’s support.)
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers — $1.2 billion, maintaining this program, which the Trump administration had proposed to eliminate.   (The House also refused to eliminate this program that helps school districts cover the cost of afterschool and summer-learning programs. Instead, it voted to provide $1 billion for 21st Century, signaling that this program will almost certainly see some funding in the 2018-19 school year.)
  • Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants — $450 million, a $50 million increase, for this new block grant created under the Every Student Succeeds Act to help support activities to provide students with a well-rounded education, including STEM education; ensure safe and supportive learning environments; and use technology to improve instruction.   (This program, which can be used for everything from computer science programs to band instruments and Advanced Placement test fees, is currently receiving $400 million, and would get $500 million under a bill approved by the House appropriations committee earlier this year.)
  • IDEA State Grants — $12.8 billon, the same funding level for special education grants for children with disabilities as last year.
  • Career and Technical Education Grants — $1.1 billion, the same level as last year. (The Trump administration had proposed a $165 million cut.)
  • Impact Aid — $1.3 billion, an $11.5 million increase above FY2017.  Impact Aid provides support to local school districts impacted by the presence of non-taxable federally-owned land and activities, such as military bases, and Indian lands.
  • Teacher and Leader Incentive Fund — $190 million, a $10 million decrease from FY 2017 for this program which provides grants to help school districts create pay-for-performance programs.
  • Charter Schools — $367 million, a $25 million increase above FY2017, to support the start-up, replication, and expansion of high-quality charter schools.   (The Trump administration had proposed a $168 million increase.)
  • TRIO Programs — $953 million, a $3 million increase over FY2017. TRIO programs provide services to students from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them enter and complete college and postgraduate education program.