On March 11, President Trump released the FY 2020 President’s Budget, which includes proposed spending levels for the 2020–21 school year. Like in past budget proposals, the president called for steep cuts across the board to many non-defense discretionary programs, including education. Counting cuts to Pell Grants and all other education programs, the total cuts for the Department of Education (ED) would be $8.8 billion in FY 2020, or 12.5 percent lower than ED’s enacted FY 2019 budget. Many of NASSP’s priority programs would suffer cuts, while others would only receive level funding:
- Title I: $15.86 billion. Level funded from FY 2019.
- Title II: Eliminated in the President’s Budget. This program received $2.055 billion in FY 2019.
- Title IV: Eliminated in the President’s Budget. This program received $1.17 billion in FY 2019.
- IDEA Grants to states: $12.36 billion. Level funded from FY 2019.
- Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants: Eliminated in the President’s Budget. This program received $190 million in FY 2019.
- Career and Technical Education State Grants: $1.26 billion. Level funded from FY 2019.
Unfortunately, President Trump’s budget would also eliminate 26 other programs beneficial to students and educators that weren’t mentioned above. This includes the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program which educators serving in high-need schools can use to forgive student debts.
One area where the budget does call for an increase is in funding for school voucher proposals. The budget included $50 billion over ten years to support a new tax credit proposal for individual or corporate donations to state-authorized scholarship-granting organizations that can be used for private school tuition. This idea was recently supported by Secretary Betsy DeVos, but NASSP believes this proposal would harm public schools and the students that attend them. You can find NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti’s comments on this proposal here.
While the President’s budget proposal may not start education off on the right foot for FY 2020, it should be taken with a grain of salt. The House and Senate both rebuked Trump’s FY 2018 and FY 2019 budgets, which both made similar, unnecessary cuts. And now with Democrats controlling the House for the 116th Congress, it seems far less likely that the majority of these cuts will be seriously considered in Congress. However, Congress must pass a budget deal for FY 2020 that raises spending caps or there will be cuts across the board for non-defense discretionary spending, and this could lead to numbers much closer to those in President Trump’s budget.
NASSP is currently tracking the FY 2020 process. Stay tuned to future Advocacy Updates for more information.