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Published in Print: January 6, 2016, as Ed. Dept. Budget Sees Slight Boost In FY 2016 Deal

Education Department Gets Slight Boost in FY 2016 Deal

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Title I aid for the nation's neediest students is getting a $500 million boost, up to approximately $14.9 billion, while state grants under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are rising by $415 million, up to $11.9 billion, as part of the omnibus federal budget deal for fiscal 2016 signed into law by President Barack Obama last month.

Those and other spending increases are part of an overall budget increase for the U.S. Department of Education of $1.2 billion. The total increase for the U.S. Department of Education's budget is about 2 percent, up to about $68 billion.

In addition, Head Start, which is under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is getting a $570 million increase, up to $9.2 billion, under the omnibus budget, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant under HHS is rising by $326 million, up to $2.8 billion.

"We're particularly pleased that very few programs were cut," said Joel Packer, the executive director of the Committee for Education Funding.

Some Reductions

Title I program evaluation, however, has been cut by just short of $1 million, and the Transition to Teaching program has been eliminated.

Although, going forward, the recently signed Every Student Succeeds Act eliminates the School Improvement Grant program, which was expanded and revamped by former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, it does receive funding for fiscal 2016 in the new spending bill to the tune of $450 million. That's a decrease, however, from the $506 million it got in fiscal 2015. So the SIG program will be able to continue for at least another budget year.

And another Obama initiative, Investing in Innovation, known as i3, is flat-funded at $120 million for fiscal 2016. (The ESSA includes a similar research-based program.)

The budget also clarifies that formula-funded grant programs will continue to operate under the previous reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—the No Child Left Behind law—for the 2016-17 academic year. In short, the ESSA isn't really relevant for this budget bill.

Funding Highlights

Among the program highlights in the budget package:

• Charter school grants will receive an additional $80 million, up to $333 million.

• The National Assessment of Educational Progress will receive an additional $20 million, up to $149 million.

• The Striving Readers program will receive an additional $30 million, up to $190 million.

• 21st Century Community Learning Centers will receive an additional $15 million, up to $1.17 billion.

• Impact Aid will receive an additional $17 million, up to $1.3 billion.

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• Promise Neighborhoods will receive an additional $16.5 million, up to $73 million.

• Safe and Drug-Free Schools and National Programs will receive an additional $5 million, up to $75 million.

• Rural education will receive an additional $6 million, up to $176 million.

"These numbers, I predict, are going to be fairly similar to what we get next year," Packer said.

Vol. 35, Issue 15, Page 23

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