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Fiscal Year 2010 Budget? Haven't We Done This Already?

President Obama's proposed federal budget, the real one, with numbers and everything this time, is likely to come out any day now.

Usually, folks in Washington are on pins-and-needles waiting for this document, which lays out how much the administration thinks should be spent on federal programs.

It includes everything from a bottom-line number for the U.S. Department of Education to spending levels for programs from Title I (which got about $14 billion in fiscal year 2009) to the Javits Gifted Education program (which got just under $7.5 million).

You might recall that, a couple of months ago, Obama put out a preliminary version of this budget plan, which gave top-line numbers for agencies and proposed some new programs, but for the most part, avoided the nitty-gritty.

His proposal would fund the U.S. Department of Education at $46.7 billion in the next fiscal year. That figure doesn’t take into account $81 billion for the Education Department under the economic-stimulus package or a major budgetary change for the Pell Grant program for college students.

In this more fleshed out budget, the administration will tell us just how much it thinks should be spent on some of Obama's new proposals (like Promise Neighborhoods, which are supposed to mirror the Harlem Children's Zone). We might also see other new proposals, such as a possible successor to Reading First, which Congress zeroed out in fiscal year 2009.

And Obama's budget proposal, which will also outline spending for other departments that deal with education, including the Department of Health and Human Services, will give us an idea of which programs the new administration would like to eliminate. I wouldn't expect him to propose scrapping as many programs as President George W. Bush did. (Bush put 47 Ed. Dept. programs on the chopping block in fiscal year 2009.)

But a lot of the major work on this year's budget, is well...basically done. Educators are usually most interested in whether there will be significant increases to Title I and special education, two of the largest chunks of the department's discretionary budget. But those were already approved as part of the $115 billion for education in the economic stimulus package.

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