Education Funding

Education Spending to See Reductions in Fiscal 2006 Federal Budget

By Michelle R. Davis — December 22, 2005 4 min read

Precollegiate education got a lump of coal from Congress a few days before Christmas, as lawmakers essentially froze all discretionary spending and then heaped a 1 percent cut on top of that as they scrambled to approve an overdue school spending measure.

Late Wednesday night, the Senate approved by voice vote the $142.5 billion fiscal 2006 spending bill for the departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services. The bill narrowly passed the House on Dec. 14 by a vote of 215-213. The measure contains essentially the same plan for education spending as an earlier House-Senate conference agreement, which was unexpectedly defeated in the House in late November, but resuscitated this month.

A separate defense spending bill, which passed the Senate on a vote of 93-0 late Wednesday and was approved by the House by unanimous consent on Thursday, contained a 1 percent, across-the-board spending cut to all federal programs with the exception of veterans’ programs. The 1 percent slice eliminated what had been very slight increases to K-12 education’s two largest programs—Title I and special education—and turned them into cuts.

“It’s a dirty shame,” said Reg Weaver, the president of the 2.7 million-member National Education Association, of the final education budget.

The Department of Education’s discretionary spending level in the appropriation bill will see a reduction of $624 million from the fiscal 2005 level. However, overall discretionary spending for the Education Department will ultimately increase, with the addition of $1.6 billion in hurricane relief aid that is also included in the defense spending bill.

With the 1 percent cut, funding for Title I, the nation’s largest federal program to help educate disadvantaged children, fell $28 million from fiscal 2005 to $12.7 billion. Funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act fell by $7 million over fiscal 2005 to $10.6 billion. The new spending bill decreases the federal share of the costs of educating students with disabilities from 18.6 to 17.8 percent, representing the first drop in spending in that area in a decade, according to a Democratic education aide.

Spending Details

The education spending bill includes a number of other cuts, including a 96 percent cut to comprehensive school reform, from $205 million to $8 million; a 45 percent cut to education technology state grants, from $496 million to $272 million; a cut of nearly 50 percent to state block grants for innovative education from $198 million to $99 million; and a 20 percent reduction to state grants for the safe and drug free schools and communities program, from $437 million to $347 million.

A third bill, also taken up during the hurried last days before the holiday break, affected education. Called the budget reconciliation measure, it institutes spending cuts to reduce the deficit, and contains $12.7 billion in cuts to the student loan program. It also has a provision to open up a student-loan forgiveness program—which had earlier applied only to public school math, science, and special education teachers—to all private school teachers who work at schools in which 30 percent of students are from low-income families, said Kim Anderson, a lobbyist for the NEA.

But Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, said it was important to look at the big picture in the bill. Though he said he “would have preferred the previously passed Senate bill,” this measure contains some positives, which include increasing loan limits for first- and second-year students to $3,500 and $4,500, and increasing graduate borrowing limits to $12,000.

“With this bill we were able to reduce spending through changes in the way lenders operate, but at the same time we shielded direct impact to students and actually increased student opportunities,” he said in a written statement.

While a last-minute holiday crunch in Congress is typical, longtime observers say it was unusual for lawmakers to wait this long to pass an education spending bill and to have its outcome so uncertain. The fiscal year ended Sept. 30 and the Department of Education has been operating under a continuing budget resolution that keeps its funding mostly at last year’s levels.

The end-of-the-year wrangling had bleary-eyed lawmakers taking votes in the wee hours of the morning. At one point, Senate lawmakers rejected the defense spending bill because it contained a provision to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling and sent aides scrambling to reformulate the bill in order to make it palatable enough to finally pass.

“We’re frustrated about the entire endgame,” said Mary Kusler, the assistant director of government relations for the Arlington, Va.-based American Association of School Administrators. “One of their last acts was slashing funding for education and they did it in the middle of the night with big consequences for every school and district.”

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Miguel Cardona's First Budget Hearing Becomes Forum on In-Person Learning, 1619 Project
In his first public testimony to Congress as education secretary, Cardona also touched on standardized testing and student discipline.
6 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, right, talks to 12th grade art student Madri Mazo at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y. on April 22, 2021.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, left, talks to 12th grade art student Eugene Coleman at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y. in April.
Mark Lennihan/AP
Education Funding States Are Waffling Over Billions in K-12 Federal Relief. Schools Are Getting Antsy.
Schools in some states have already started spending money from recent federal stimulus packages. Others don’t yet have the dollars in hand.
6 min read
Conceptual image of money dropping into a jar.
iStock/Getty
Education Funding Opinion The COVID-19 Stimulus Money Won’t Last Forever. Here’s What's Next for Schools
There are three important first steps for states to start helping schools prepare now, write two policy experts.
Zahava Stadler & Victoria Jackson
5 min read
a group of people water a lightbulb plant, nurturing an idea
iStock/Getty Images
Education Funding Opinion What Ed. Leaders Can Learn From a Wildfire About Spending $129 Billion in Federal Funds
There are five entrenched routines that leaders should reject to forge a better path forward after the pandemic.
Kristen McQuillan
4 min read
Firefighters fighting fire
akiyoko/iStock/Getty