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Vol. 34: New Federal Budget Bill Includes Increases for Education Spending

A Decision May Finally Be Reached!  

Back in February, President Trump's budget proposal was released for the fiscal year 2019. This is the second time that his budget plan has been introduced for the next before the final appropriation bill for last year passed. Instead of agreeing and authorizing a budget, the federal government continued to pass resolutions that basically kept the lights on and avoided shutting down the government while Americans waited for a finalized plan. Now, Congressional leaders have released an omnibus bill that, if passed before the end of Friday, would keep the government open until the end of the current fiscal year on September 30th.

Congress has passed five resolutions known as Continuing Resolutions (CRs) since early September 2017. Fortunately, the most recently authorized CR did include a two-year agreement for the budgets for FYs 2018 and 2019.  This decision avoided cutting programs, however, the delay affected school districts across the country as they cannot make budgeting decisions until a final appropriations bill is passed by Congress. If the omnibus bill is approved, districts will be able to begin their own budgeting plans and processes for the upcoming fiscal year-finally! 

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and other urban districts need additional federal education funding in order to implement the newly-approved state Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans. Specifically, increased funding for Title I is necessary to carry out new state requirements. CMSD is grateful that the omnibus bill includes an increase in Title I funding by $300 million from the previous year.  

A number of other educations funds are either protected under this plan or will see their funding increase. Funding for Title II (for teacher development and salaries) will remain the same from last year, while funding for the Title IV block grant will increase by over $700 million. This could be used for school safety, technology, or other structural needs.  21st Century Afterschool Programs will receive an additional $20 million under this plan and special education grants will see an increase of almost $300 million. No monies are added to provide firearms training for teachers, so while this is still a plan and not a signed budget, it looks like good news! 

Ensuring all schools and education programs have appropriate funding is essential to advancing our students. CMSD supports increases for Title I and the above-mentioned items provided in the omnibus spending bill.  The next two days will be critical to looking more deeply to see if there are any items harmful in the bill or any items added on prior to the signing that would impede our progress. The clock is ticking and we appreciate the Ohio representatives and their staffs for assisting in this important work!

Photos are courtesy of Cleveland Metropolitan School District