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Vol. 35: Government Shutdown Averted

President Trump Signs Federal Budget

This just in from the Council of Great City Schools: Almost six months into the fiscal year, an omnibus appropriations bill funding all federal programs for FY 2018 was finally passed by Congress and has now been signed into law by the president. The bill includes increased funding for some federal education programs for school year 2018-19, and does not include the private school vouchers, school choice pilot, or major eliminations proposed by the administration last year. The omnibus bill provides minor increases for Title I and IDEA, a large increase for the flexible Title IV-A program authorized under ESSA, and freezes most other K-12 programs. The Title II program for hiring, training, and retaining teachers was level-funded and was not eliminated as the president had proposed. The president initially threatened a veto of the omnibus bill, but eventually signed the measure a few hours before a government shutdown would begin due to the absence of federal appropriations.

Changes to the major federal K-12 education programs include:

  • Title I-A: increased by $300 million (now at $15.76 billion)
  • Title II: frozen (at $2.1 billion)
  • Title III: frozen (at $737.4 million)
  • Title IV-A: increased by $700 million (now at $1.1 billion)
  • 21st Century Afterschool: increased $20 million (now at $1.2 billion)
  • Charter schools: increased $58 million (now at $400 million)
  • IDEA Part B: increased $275 million (now at $12.3 billion)
  • Perkins CTE: increased $75 million (now at to $1.2 billion)
  • Head Start and Early Head Start: increased $610 million (now at $9.9 billion, in HHS budget)
  • Preschool Development Grants: frozen (at $250 million, in HHS budget)

School Safety and Mental Health: The omnibus includes funding for school safety and mental health in a few areas. It redirects $75 million in Department of Justice funding to a new STOP School Violence Act, which will provide a limited number of competitive grants each year for safety measures including threat assessments, planning and coordination with local law enforcement, reporting systems, and deterrent equipment such as locks and metal detectors. It increases funding for School Safety national activities, which will also provide competitive grants based on the Secretary’s priorities. A significant portion of each school district’s grant under the Title IV-A program, which was increased by $700 million, can be used for a range of safety, counseling, mental health, and school climate purposes. Increased funding was also provided to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which may be used to promote behavioral health among students and prevent violence and substance abuse in both K-12 and higher education settings.

  Although we would have preferred even greater increases for Title I and IDEA, Congress clearly received the message we have all delivered about the harm from proposed funding cuts and the need for increased
 funding for education. We will continue these efforts as Congress begins to consider funding for the next fiscal year (FY 2019, or school year 2019-20). 

Photos are courtesy of Cleveland Metropolitan School District