Late last week, President Joe Biden released his administration’s proposed FY 2022 budget. NASSP applauded this proposal, as it contains the robust funding that so many federal educational programs need. Below, we break down some of the highlights of the president’s proposal and walk through what happens next.
- Overall Proposed Funding Level: The president’s FY 2022 budget proposal asks for $102.8 billion for the nation’s K–12 schools during the 2022–23 school year. This robust request would provide schools with the reliable funding they require to continue meeting the needs of each student. It is promising to see such a proposal containing significant investments in our nation’s students and schools, particularly with increased funding and resources to hire school counselors, nurses, and mental health professionals.
- School Leader Recruitment and Support Program Funding: The president’s proposal reinvigorates the School Leader Recruitment and Support program and recommends that it be funded at $30 million for FY 2022—a huge win for principals and assistant principals. The School Leader Recruitment and Support program, which NASSP worked to have Congress include in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), provides competitive grants to local education agencies, state education agencies, the Bureau of Indian Education, or related consortia to improve the recruitment, preparation, placement, support, and retention of effective principals or other school leaders in high-need schools. The funds suggested in the president’s proposal would support grants for high-quality professional development for principals and other school leaders and high-quality training for aspiring principals and school leaders.
- Title I Funding: Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provides formula grants to states and, in turn, to districts to support academic success for disadvantaged children. The Biden administration’s FY 2022 proposal asks for $36.5 billion in funding for Title I, which is a $20 billion increase over FY 2021 levels, and creates a new Title I equity grant program that encourages states to rethink how they provide equitable funding to schools.
- Title II Funding: Title II of the ESEA provides formula grants to states to increase academic achievement by improving teacher and principal quality. This program also helps districts and schools invest in principal residencies, job-embedded and cohort-based professional learning, and mentorship opportunities for aspiring principals. The Biden administration’s FY 2022 proposal asks for $2.148 billion for Title II, which is a $5 million increase from the FY 2021 allocated level of $2.143 billion.
- Title IV Funding: Title IV of the ESEA is a flexible block grant program that allows for investments in safe and healthy schools, a well-rounded education, and investments in the effective use of technology. The Biden administration’s FY 2022 proposal asks for level funding of Title IV at the same level as FY 2021, which was $1.22 billion.
- Funding for Other Important Programs: The Biden administration’s FY 2022 proposal asks for $15.5 billion for IDEA funding, which is a $2.6 billion increase over FY 2021. The budget also requested level funding of $192 million for the Comprehensive Literacy State Development grants program, which helps advance the reading and writing skills of students from birth through grade 12. This includes English-language learners and students with disabilities. The Career and Technical Education (CTE) State Grants program, which provides support for states and communities to implement high-quality CTE programs to meet the demands of the 21st-century economy and workforce, also receives a boost. The president’s FY 2022 budget proposes that the CTE State Grants receive a $20 million increase over last year, to a total $1.355 billion for FY 2022.
What Happens Next
You may have noticed that throughout this post we have referred to the administration’s FY 2022 budget as a “proposal.” Why is this not a final budget, only a proposed one? That’s because, under the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the “power of the purse.” What this means in practice is that the president’s proposal will be taken under consideration by Congress, and that the pertinent committees that decide how to appropriate federal funds will also debate their own spending proposals. All of these proposals ideally will be debated over the summer, and wrapped up before the end of the current fiscal year on September 30, 2021.
However, in recent years, Congress has been unable to come to a bipartisan agreement on increased funding levels for all federal agencies, and has as a result passed what are known as “continuing resolutions,” or “CRs” in Washington parlance. CRs are not ideal because they are stopgap measures to prevent the federal government from running out of money and do not actually adjust funding to reflect the latest needs of federal agencies and our country. NASSP remains hopeful that this year’s spending discussions will not result in another CR, but we will engage with representatives, senators, and the administration to advocate for the federal funding needs of school leaders, educators, and students no matter what course the funding discussion takes. Stay tuned for updates from NASSP over the summer and opportunities for your voice to be heard as Congress finalizes the education spending bills.