Congress passed an omnibus appropriations bill Thursday which would provide funding for the remainder of federal fiscal year (FY) 2018, and which the President signed on Friday afternoon.
Overall, the funding bill represents a significant win for Congressional Democrats, with nearly every formula-funded education program seeing a funding increase. The Child Care and Development Block Grant was perhaps the biggest winner under this bill, nearly doubling its funding with a $2.37 billion spending increase which will bring its total annual budget to $5.2 billion. Perkins Career and Technical Education State grants also saw a significant increase of $75 million. The chart below shows funding levels in the legislation as compared to the previous fiscal year.
|Appropriation (in thousands of dollars)|
|Program||Final FY 2017||President’s FY 2018 Request||FY 2018 Omnibus||Omnibus as compared to FY 2017|
|ESEA Title I Grants||$15,459,802||$14,881,458||$15,760,000||$300,200|
|ESEA Title II (Teacher Quality)||$2,055,830||$0||$2,055,830||$0|
|ESEA Title III (English Language Acquisition)||$737,400||$735,998||$737,400||$0|
|Education Innovation and Research||$100,000||$370,000||$120,000||$20,000|
|21st Century Community Learning Centers||$1,191,673||$0||$1,212,000||$20,000|
|Charter School Grants||$342,172||$500,000||$400,000||$57,828|
|Student Support and Academic Enrichment (Title IV-A)||$400,000||$0||$1,100,000||$700,000|
|IDEA Part B State Grants||$12,002,848||$11,890,202||$12,278,000||$275,000|
|IDEA Part C Grants||$458,556||$457,684||$470,000||$11,000|
|CTE State grants||$1,117,598||$949,499||$1,193,000||$75,000|
|Adult Education State grants||$581,955||$485,849||$631,000||$35,000|
|Head Start, including Early Head Start||$9,253,095||$9,168,000||$9,863,000||$610,000|
|Preschool Development Grants||$250,000||$0||$250,000||$0|
The bill takes $75 million appropriated for an existing Department of Justice school safety initiative and redirects that funding toward programs authorized under the STOP School Violence Act. The bill says funding provided through the STOP School Violence Act can be used to support evidence-based programs, violence prevention efforts, and anonymous reporting systems, as well as physical security upgrades for schools, like “metal detectors, locks, lighting, and other deterrent measures.”
The legislation also contains several implied rebukes to the Trump administration. While the administration had suggested zeroing out funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, the legislation increases it. Title II professional development programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which the administration also nixed in its budget proposal, are level-funded. The omnibus fails to provide funding for the private school choice or ESEA Title I funding portability requested by the administration. And lawmakers foiled attempts by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to rework or shrink the size of various offices at the U.S. Department of Education. Though DeVos suggested cutting the budget for the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) by approximately $1 million, the omnibus would increase funding for OCR from $109 million to $117 million. Language in the bill also prohibits federal funding from being used for “a reorganization that decentralizes, reduces the staffing level, or alters the responsibilities, structure, authority, or functionality of the Budget Service of the Department of Education.” Just last week, reporters revealed that DeVos had reassigned at least two budget staffers in what was largely considered the beginning of an effort to dismantle the centralized budget office within the agency.
This morning, the President issued a threat via Twitter to veto the legislation over a lack of authorization for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and insufficient funding for a southern border wall. But at a signing ceremony this afternoon, he said he was signing it only for reasons of homeland security. President Trump also said he would not sign another last-minute budget bill, blamed Congressional Democrats for the exclusion of assistance for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, called for elimination of the Senate filibuster and a return of the Presidential line-item veto for budget bills.
Work on this appropriations bill has overlapped significantly with work on funding for next year, with cabinet secretaries testifying before Congressional committees this week about the President’s budget proposal for FY 2019.