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Vol. 31: Budget Updates

Budget Updates: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 
Hope Amid Certain Cuts


A Timely Continuing Resolution (CR) 
On Feb. 9th 2018, the Congress passed the fifth Continuing Resolution (CR) for the federal Fiscal Year 2018. This resolution funds most federal programs until March 23rd. Hurricane and disaster relief for affected school districts are included in this resolution and a two-year budget agreement was a part of this CR. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) was not included and Senate discussion will occur this week.

The two-year budget deal is a promising pledge. It included new and higher overall totals for 2018 and 2019, while funding for specific programs will be discussed in other bills. The two-year deal lifts the existing budget caps.

Following is a brief outline of the overdue spending and policy directives in this CR:

Hurricane and Disaster Relief for Education
There is supplemental funding for the U.S. Department of Education— $2.7 billion of disaster assistance for areas impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the 2017 wildfires. This package for K-12 schools is modeled after post- Katrina relief. About $2.4 billion will be distributed to States to provide:
(1) Immediate aid for impacted school districts and private schools to restart school operations;
(2) Temporary emergency impact aid for such schools to enroll displaced students.
Other parts of this CR offers up to:

  • $175 million for higher education institutions
    • Located in disaster areas or
    • Enrolling displaced students from disaster areas.
  • $35 million for the Secretary to distribute through Project SERV grants, and
  • $25 million for districts serving homeless children and youths displaced by the declared federal disaster or emergency.

Furthermore, the Department of Education may forgive any outstanding loan balances owed to the Department under the previously enacted HBCU Hurricane Supplemental Loan program.

Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
This program is reauthorized for ten years, 4 more years than the previous CR earlier this year.
While we are grateful for the supports this CR provides for our families and scholars impacted by Hurricane Maria and CHIP, there are other developments that could be very harmful to public school districts. 

Sure and Certain Cuts Coming Soon 
President Trump’s budget proposal for the 2019-2020 school year was released this week and proposes severe reductions to public education.  The proposed cut is estimated at $3.6 billion, or 5.3% for the entire Department of Education! Please click here for more information. 

The call for eliminating funds for public schools while increasing funding for school choice and private education.  Elimination of Title II programs that fund teachers and professional development and cuts to after-school programming.  This will directly impact the daily lives of our scholars, parents, and staff. While all of these are just proposals, the budget timeline is now March 23rd, adding on legislation for the DREAMERS will keep our representatives very busy in the next few weeks. 

With all of the continuing resolutions and budget proposals moving quickly at the federal level, it is important to remember that CMSD is already a district of choice working with a local plan of reform that is showing great progress.  Through the Cleveland Plan, we offer choices to families including charters.  Any cuts to our funding or loss of after-school programs could have impacts to the continued upward trajectory of our graduation rate, our k-3 literacy, local funding strategy and our 5-year forecast. 

We will continue to advocate full funding at the state and federal level to support Cleveland scholars. 

Photos are the courtesy of CMSD and the George Fund Foundation (Children of Cleveland Schools). 

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