I’ve heard from folks up on the Hill that an amendment to be introduced by Sens. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, could significantly scale back the nearly $140 billion education funding in the Senate’s version of the proposed economic stimulus package.
The items targeted include at least $24.8 billion to be cut from the $79 billion State Stabilization Fund, $6.75 billion out of the more than $13 billion for special education, $6.5 billion from Title I out of $13 billion, and $50 million from the proposed $100 million Teacher Quality Enhancement grant program.
Advocates are worried the plan would block much needed aid for local districts.
“We are extremely disappointed that the bipartisan amendment would cut the only direct aid going to school districts” that could help avert layoffs and severe program reductions,” said Mary Kusler, the assistant director of government relations for the American Associations of School Administrators. “By reducing their investment in [special education] and Title I they are only going to increase the burdens being felt by local districts as they work on their budgets for the coming school year.”
I’m hearing that a number of centrist Democratic senators are willing to consider the package of cuts. Stay tuned.