Education Funding

K-12 Panel Advances Budget Bill

By Andrew Ujifusa — July 18, 2017 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

House lawmakers who oversee appropriations for the U.S. Department of Education have voted to advance a bill funding the agency for the coming budget year. Reflecting partisan divisions, Republican and Democratic members differed sharply over the impact of the GOP-sponsored bill, which would provide $66 billion to the department, a $2.4 billion cut for fiscal 2018.

In a brief hearing before a House subcommittee last week, Republicans stressed that the proposed legislation would preserve current funding levels for Title I programs for disadvantaged students, increase spending on special education by $200 million, and keep intact current aid for early education and career and technical education.

But Democrats slammed the bill’s elimination of $2 billion in Title II money for teacher training and class-size reductions, and said its increases to other education programs were welcome but not sufficient.

The vote means that the bill advances to the full House Appropriations Committee, which could take up the measure this week. Notably, the bill does not include two signature school choice initiatives in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget: a $1 billion public-school-choice program and a $250 million state grant program to expand private school choice.

Shallower Cuts

The House bill’s cut of 3.5 percent for the Education Department is significantly less than the $9.2 billion reduction—or 13.5 percent—the Trump administration wants. However, the legislation does match the Trump spending blueprint’s move to eliminate Title II aid.Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., the subcommittee chairman, said the bill is “continuing to support early-childhood education, particularly for those at risk.” And he noted the bill’s increased support for Title IV, saying, “These funds can be used flexibly by school districts across the country.”

But the subcommittee’s top Democrat, Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, took aim at the $2 billion Title II cut. “That appears to me to be anti-teacher,” DeLauro said. And she said that while the $200 million increase in special education grants [bringing total funding up to $12.2 billion] is appreciated, “special education funding continues to fall short of our commitment” to students with special needs.

In other highlights of the House legislation:

• Traditional Title I aid to districts would remain flat at $15.9 billion.

• Charter school grants would get a relatively small bump, to $370 million, up from $342 million.

• Title IV’s block grant, designed to finance a diverse set of education programs, would get a $100 million boost, to $500 million, from current spending. Trump wants to eliminate the block grant entirely.

• Career and technical education spending would remain the same as now, at about $1.1 billion.

• Preschool development grants, which are administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, would be flat-funded at $250 million.

In advance of the July 13 hearing, several education advocacy groups singled out the Title II cuts proposed in the House bill for criticism. Executive Director Chris Minnich of the Council of Chief State School Officers, for example, said, “Cutting these funds to zero wouldn’t allow for an opportunity to improve how we spend those dollars and would turn our back on the commitments we have made to teachers and students.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the July 19, 2017 edition of Education Week as K-12 Panel Advances Budget Bill


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.
Assessment Webinar
Reimagining Grading in K-12 Schools: A Conversation on the Value of Standards-Based Grading
Hear from K-12 educational leaders and explore standards-based grading benefits and implementation strategies and challenges
Content provided by Otus
Reading & Literacy Webinar How Background Knowledge Fits Into the ‘Science of Reading’ 
Join our webinar to learn research-backed strategies for enhancing reading comprehension and building cultural responsiveness in the classroom.
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.
Assessment Webinar
Innovative Strategies for Data & Assessments
Join our webinar to learn strategies for actionable instruction using assessment & analysis.
Content provided by Edulastic

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 Congress Passed $1B for School Safety Last Year. Only 38 Districts Have Gotten Money
Only one state so far has awarded funds from a grant program that was part of Congress' response to the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting.
7 min read
Families of the Uvalde victims silently protest Senate inaction and mass shootings following the six-month anniversary of the Robb Elementary School massacre on Dec. 06, 2022 in Washington.
Congress passed the sweeping Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in June 2022 after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Nine months later, only one state has awarded funds from a grant program in the legislation that set aside $1 billion to support student safety and mental health. Here families of the Uvalde shooting victims silently protest at the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 6, 2022.
Joy Asico/March Fourth via AP
Education Funding A Surge in Funding for Homeless Students Is Waning. What Now?
COVID homeless aid helped schools locate more families and connect them to services. Advocates want to make the increase permanent.
3 min read
A young boy reaches into the open door of a school bus to grab a plastic bag of food handed to him by an adult.
A Jefferson County School District student receives several bags with free meals in Fayette, Miss.
Rogelio V. Solis/AP
Education Funding 4 Ways States Are Trying to Fix How They Fund Schools
Advocates in many places are pushing for reforms that precisely target more robust aid to schools and students in need.
6 min read
one woman and two men with a large calculator and next to large stacks of bills and coins.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Education Funding Pennsylvania School Funding Is Unconstitutional, Judge Says. Here's What Could Happen Next
An appeal could be on the way, but advocates are already gearing up to make the case for funding reform.
6 min read
Stock image of a gavel on top of a pile of money.
iStock/Getty Images