Earlier this year, congressional leaders in both the House and Senate stated their intent to pass all 12 appropriations bills, a process often referred to as “regular order,” which hasn’t been done since 1996 as to avoid another end of the year budget package. In late June, House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) both released their spending bills. The Senate acted on their bill and packaged it with the defense spending bill to help pass the two largest spending bills at once. After this package passed, referred to as a “minibus,” Senate and House appropriators conferenced to form a new defense and Labor-HHS-Ed spending bill that could pass both chambers before the fiscal year ends on October 1. On September 14, a deal was struck between both parties to form such a package. This conference agreement would boost funding for the Education Department (ED) by $581 million over FY 2018, bringing the total for ED to $71.5 billion. NASSP’s top priorities are to receive*:
- Title I — $100 million increase, bringing its total to $15.86 billion.
- Title II — Level funded from FY 2018 at $2.05 billion
- Title IV — $70 million increase, bringing its total to $1.17 billion
- IDEA Grants to States — $87 million increase to $12.36 billion
- Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants — Level funded from FY 2018 at $190 million
- Career and Technical Education State Grants — $70 million increase, bringing its total to $1.26 billion
*All funding changes are in relation to FY 2018 levels.
The package still has to make it through both chambers of Congress before heading to President Trump’s desk. The plan is for this agreement to be packaged with a continuing resolution full of other appropriations bills that have not yet been completed. This overall deal, set to fund the government through December 7, will need to be passed before October 1 to avoid a government shutdown.
While NASSP is pleased to see small increases in many programs it supports, it is unfortunate that these proposed increases are so minimal. Policymakers need to increase the federal investment in education to at least the authorized levels written in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Until legislators prioritize education funding for these programs, they will fail to reach their maximum potential. NASSP will continue to closely monitor the FY 2019 and FY 2020 appropriations processes as they progress.