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News & Press: Policy

Statement on White House Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 2018) Budget

Thursday, March 16, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Denise Marshall
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Dear 'First Name':

Today, the White House released the President’s FY 2018 budget. The proposal provides an opportunity to see where the Administration's priorities lie and clearly education is not high on the list.  While a 13 percent cut at the US Department of Education may seem small compared to other proposed cuts, it's important to remember that current funding is wholly inadequate. This taken in combination with flat funding of IDEA and elimination of teacher training and literacy-focused dollars in this budget place all students, especially those who may struggle, at great risk. States and districts will find it impossible to recruit and train well qualified general and special education teachers and other personnel integral to assuring students with disabilities have equal access to the general curriculum and receive the supports and services they need. Furthermore, the expansion proposed to Title I, with no caveat for accountability, equitable access and protection of key civil rights creates incentives for private and religious schools to hand pick the students they wish to serve; a practice we know is likely perpetuate and possibly increase discrimination against students with disabilities and others who are more challenging to teach. We are very concerned that early education and the Office for Civil Rights are not mentioned in the budget at all. We urge Congress to carefully make decisions about the education of our Nation's children in the weeks ahead.

What We Know So Far

The budget provides a summary of proposed cuts and investments – overall and to certain programs – for each federal agency. Below you will find as much detail as available related to the agencies responsible for programs within COPAA’s education portfolio. The agencies are:

• U.S. Department of Education

• U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

• U.S. Department of Justice

• U.S. Department of Education

Summary of total funding: The President’s 2018 Budget provides $59B in discretionary funding for the Department of Education. This represents $9B in cuts or a 13 percent reduction below the FY 2017 annualized Continuing Resolution (CR) level which is in effect until April 28, 2017.

Overview of proposed allocations, expansions and cuts: 

Title I (which provides funding to states for disadvantaged students under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)) is targeted to receive a $1B increase dedicated to encouraging school districts to adopt a system of student based budgeting and open enrollment that enables Federal, State, and local funding to follow the student to the public school of his or her choice. The proposal builds on a new pilot program included in ESSA which allows up to 50 school districts to adopt a weighted student funding formula that would combine federal, state, and local dollars into a single funding stream tied to individual students. Under the pilot, districts would provide funding to schools based on the number of students they enroll and the characteristics of those students (e.g. English Learners, low-income or students with disabilities). If a student moves from one school to another, the receiving school is given the money designated for the student. The current funding model used by most states-to-school districts provides funds based on staffing ratios and through specific [funded] programs. Under the predominant model, when a student changes schools, all or most of the funding stays with the local/original public school.

Title II Part A (which provides formula funding under ESSA to school districts for training and recruiting high- teachers, principals and other school leaders) is eliminated. It is currently funded in FY 2017 at $2.4B.

Title II Part B (which includes specific programs for literacy and national technical training programs for teachers) is targeted for major cuts. Specifically, the budget eliminates the Comprehensive Literacy Development Grant program which is the only federal funding available to states targeted to improve literacy for children birth to grade 12.
Title IV (which provides grants to states focused on safe and healthy schools) eliminates the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. 21st Century supports before- and after-school programs, summer programs, safe and drug free schools and more. This program is currently funded at $1.2B in the current CR.

IDEA
(which provides formula funding to states for special education) is currently funded at $13B.

Early education (which is a new priority under ESSA) is not mentioned in the budget outline.
Public and Private School Choice (which is currently limited to public school choice under ESSA via charter school programs) receives additional increases of $1.4B. This includes $168M for charter schools, $250M for a new private school choice program, and the $1B mentioned under Title I. The total, which includes assumed investments in choice initiative(s) by states and locals would total $20B.

Office for Civil Rights is not mentioned in the budget outline.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Summary of total funding: The President’s budget requests $69B for HHS, a $15.1B or 17.9 percent decrease from the 2017 CR.

Early education, childcare (e.g. Head Start) and the Child Care and Development Block Grant are not mentioned in the budget outline.

U.S. Department of Justice
Summary of total funding: The President’s Budget requests $27.7B for the DOJ which represents a $1.1B or a 3.8 percent decrease from the 2017 CR. The outline specifies that this funding level excludes mandatory spending changes involving the Crime Victims Fund and the Assets Forfeiture Fund. It goes on to say that the Administration ‘is concerned about so-called sanctuary jurisdictions and will be taking steps to mitigate the risk their actions pose to public safety’.

Related Activities.

House budget and appropriations hearings. Hearings are underway in the House to establish budget priorities for FY 2018. A separate memo is being provided on today’s hearing regarding early childhood education in the House subcommittee on Labor/HHS/Education.

Next week, Secretary DeVos is testifying before the House Budget Committee on Wednesday, March 22, 10am.

Resources:
To read the full White House FY 2018 Budget visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/2018_blueprint.pdf

To read more about ESSA’s pilot on weighted student funding formula visit: https://edexcellence.net/articles/follow-the-money-essas-weighted-student-funding-pilots

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