In Washington DC our legislators are belaboring specific spending levels for the 2018-19 school year, and while there is a lot of uncertainty; one thing is clear; the recent Continuing Resolution (CR) included a budget agreement with new and higher available funds. The two-year deal lifts the existing budget caps. Appropriators have until March 23rd to determine specific funding levels for individual programs, and how to spend the additional budget in the two-year deal.
BACKGROUND: Title I: Prior to the budget deal, both the House and Senate’s initial proposals froze the Title I funding (which is used for education). This freeze is actually harmful due to additional demands made on schools under the Every Student Succeeds Act. This federal law requires significant and costly requirements for schools to—
implement the Every Student Succeeds Act’s new accountability provisions,
intervene in the additional schools that are identified, and
meet the increased data and reporting provisions under ESSA.
ESSA’s also required higher set-aside for School Improvement Grants (from 4% under No Child Left Behind Act to 7% under ESSA). This means that districts like the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) have more to report, provide more interventions to low performing schools and have to do these things with 3% less money than before. Freezing the funding for Title 1 while there is a surplus is harmful to public schools.
Title II: Both the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives proposed eliminating funding for the Title II program. Yet, this funding vitally sustains recruiting, retaining, and training a high-caliber teaching force. Eliminating Title ll costs districts even more because they now have to foot the bill for educator professional development. During a time when educator effectiveness is identified as an important predictor of student success, this elimination harms families all across the United States. Again, the Continuing Resolution recently signed signals that there is more funding available, why not use these funds to provide the resources needed so that all children can succeed?
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
In the next few days, please contact each of your Members of Congress, both for the House and the Senate. Please urge them to:
Ask the leaders on the Appropriations Committee to use the increased budget to increase funding for K-12 schools for this school year, and
Due to the Supreme Court rejecting hearing the case on DACA this week, it looks like DREAMERS (those children who are impacted by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) will have the chance to stay in the United States another year. While this is good news, it likely means kicking this important decision down the road and due to midterm elections and will result in another year of uncertainty for many of our most vulnerable scholars.
Photos are courtesy of Cleveland Metropolitan School District