Government funding runs out on April 28, and Congress has until then to pass a spending package to fund federal agencies through the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year (FY), which ends September 30. Whatever these final spending figures look like, they will determine the amount of federal funding that districts receive for the 2017–2018 school year, as educators roll out their plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Disagreements about the spending package have spurred concerns around the Hill about a possible government shutdown, especially since some Republicans want to add controversial provisions to the package that Democrats are unlikely to stomach. Whether the spending bill is an omnibus bill or a continuing resolution, policy riders that could be included are President Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and funding cuts for Planned Parenthood health centers. Moreover, the president asked Congress to cut $18 billion from discretionary programs in the FY2017 package last Friday, and outlined which agencies should “get the ax” to meet this goal.
While some lawmakers believe Trump’s suggestions are too little too late, they are worth noting since they provide insight into the new administration’s priorities. Here are FY2017 programs that the Trump administration wants to cut/reduce funding for which may affect school districts, sorted by department/agency and compared to current (FY2016, or FY2017 CR) funding levels. See the full proposal here.
- Department of Education (ED) $2.96 billion in total proposed cuts
(Note: ESSA eliminated the programs below and created a new state block grant program under Title IV-A, which allows funding for these purposes. However, the block grant’s funding is still TBD.)
- Funding to expand Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses for low-income students. (-$28 million)
- Elementary and Secondary School Counseling competitive grants to districts to expand school counseling programs. (-$49 million)
- Mathematics and Science Partnerships (MSP) formula grants to states for improving teacher instruction in K–12 math and science. (-$152 million)
- Physical education competitive grants to districts and community organizations to improve P.E. programs for K–12 students. (-$47 million)
(Other funding cuts suggested for ED, not covered by the Title IV-A block grant:)
- Striving Readers/Education for the Disadvantaged competitive grants to states to improve literacy instruction in high-need schools. (-$189 million)
- Supporting Effective Instruction (Title II) State Grants, formerly “Teacher Quality State Grants,” which provide formula grants to states to improve instruction and reduce class sizes. (-$1.2 billion)
- Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) $1.67 billion in total proposed cuts
- Choice Neighborhoods Initiative competitive grants to support local strategies to address struggling communities through transformation projects incorporating schools, police, businesses, residents, local leaders, and other stakeholders. (-$125 million)
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula grants to help struggling communities provide suitable living environments, housing, schools, and jobs. (-$1.49 billion)
- Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) $2.8 billion in total proposed cuts
- Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) competitive grant program that supports evidence-based approached to teen pregnancy prevention. Would reduce funding to current state and local grantees by about 50%. (-$50 million)
- Maternal and Child Health Block Grant and Health Resources and Services Administration programs. (-$170 million)
- Department of Transportation (DOT) $946 million in total proposed cuts
- National Infrastructure Investments (TIGER Grants) for local infrastructure projects. (-$499 million)
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) $90 million in total proposed cuts
- Federal Assistance/Grants to states for emergency food and shelter. (-$20 million)
- Pre-disaster mitigation grant program. (-$20 million)
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) $247 million in total proposed cuts
- Categorical grants to state environmental programs and offices. (-$115 million)
Bear in mind that President Trump’s call for $18 billion in FY2017 spending cuts for nondefense programs (-$3 billion for ED) would be in addition to the -$9.2 billion in cuts that Trump proposed for ED in his FY2018 “skinny budget” earlier this month. (Note: The FY2018 budget and spending bills will affect district dollars in the 2018–2019 school year; FY2017 numbers affect the 2017–2018 school year.) POLITICO says the FY2017 proposal “seeks cuts across many federal agencies, but calls for the deepest reductions at the Education Department.” Although Congress is unlikely to take the FY2017 proposal seriously, its suggestions may come into play for FY2018.
Since education funding cuts are on the horizon—be it for FY2017, FY2018, or both—school business officials will want to start building relationships with their elected officials to ensure their voices are heard if they’re not doing so already. The best way to advocate for your district is by calling your officials to express your concerns about funding cuts and inform them about which programs benefit your students and how. The Committee for Education Funding (CEF) provided ASBO International with several resources to help school business leaders better understand the state of education funding and advocate for their students:
- Graph: President’s Budget Slashes Education Funding Far Below 2010 Level.
(Outlines ED funding levels from FYs 2010–2016, and as proposed by Congress for FY2017 and the President for FY2018.)
- Table: FY2014–2018 Discretionary Funding for Selected ED Programs.
(Outlines funding levels for major ED programs, including Title I, Impact Aid, IDEA, and others for FYs 2014–2016, the current FY2017 continuing resolution, and the president’s FY2018 request.)
- Graph Series: 2017 ED Funding.
(Offers several graphs on the state of education funding for FYs 2010–2017, ESSA funding under different funding proposals, how the sequester is capping education funding, and related topics.)
- One-Pager: Federal Education Funding.
(Outlines statistics and key talking points to assist with advocating to elected officials for more education funding.)
- One-Pager: Myths vs. Facts on Education Funding.
(Debunks common myths about federal education funding and may serve as useful talking points to urge officials to invest in education programs.)