Congress passes government spending bill
Date Posted: 12/15/2014
Over the weekend, Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill* that will fund most of the federal government through September 2015. The bill, which President Obama is expected to sign, funds the U.S. Department of Education at $70.5 billion. The funding level amounts to a $133 million decrease compared to the Department’s funding last year. Most federal education program funding remained stagnant in comparison to last year, but some programs did receive a slight increase, others experienced cuts, and a handful were completely defunded. Here is a sample of how Pre-K-12 education programs fared:
- Both Title I program funding and funding for state special education grants were increased by $25 million to $14.4 billion and $11.5 billion, respectively.
- Race to the Top, one of President Obama’s signature competitive grant programs for which lawmakers have continually decreased funding in recent years, was eliminated.
- Head Start will maintain the increased funding it received in 2014 with around $8.1 billion.
- Funding for the Teacher Incentive Fund program, a competitive grant program aimed at experimental, district-level performance pay initiatives, was decreased to $230 million (a hit of about $60 million).
- The Child Care Development Block Grant program was increased by $75 million. The increase will help fund updates Congress made to the program last month when the program was reauthorized.
- The Preschool Development Grant program will receive a maintained level of funding at $250 million. Texas applied for a FY 2014 grant through this program but received word last week that it had been denied up to $120 million in funding for preschool expansion. The Texas proposal included a trial voucher program that drew criticism from many education and business advocates.
- Funding for the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program will remain at $506 million. SIG grants are intended to help low-performing schools fund and implement a turnaround model (a plan to “turnaround” or improve the school’s performance) approved by the Secretary of Education.
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