Get instant email alerts from EdWeek's blogs. Learn more.

« Changes for TIF, School Improvement Grants in Spending Bill | Main | Federal Budget Update: K-12 Funding to Stay Flat—For Now »

Senate Pulls Spending Bill With Money for Early Ed, i3

So educators may never get to see a second round of the Investing in Innovation program, which helps districts scale-up promising practices, or a brand new fund to help states improve early childhood education.

Money for both of those programs was included in a big giant spending bill under consideration in the Senate.

But Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the majority leader, pulled the measure from consideration in the face of opposition from Republicans, who objected to the fact that the bill contained a number of earmarks (pet projects requested by lawmakers for their districts.) Of course, some of these same Republicans who wanted to vote against the bill had requested their own earmarks.

What does this actually mean for schools? Well, unless Congress is somehow able to revive the measure (not likely), funding for almost every K-12 program would most likely be flat for another year.

That includes money for Title I grants to help educate disadvantaged kids, and funding for kids in special education. School districts are already facing major cuts, so many are sure to be unhappy about this. Remember, education advocates really wanted this bill to pass. They did not want to see stagnant funding for key programs.

Plus, the spending bill included $300 million for the Early Learning Challenge Fund, and $240 million for the i3 program. If it doesn't pass, it's hard to see how those programs would get funded, especially with a new crop of conservatives coming in, who are pledging to hold down spending.

There were also changes to the Teacher Incentive Fund and School Improvement Grants. It's hard to see how those changes would go through if they're not attached to the spending bill.

It looks like Congress could instead pass the year long extension bill approved by the House of Representatives. That bill flat funds pretty much all programs, but has $550 million for a second year of Race to the Top, the administration's signature reform program.

UPDATE: It is now looking like the Senate may instead pass a shorter-term extension bill, funding all programs at current levels until later this winter, when a new, more conservative Congress is in place. The new Congress will then deal with the fiscal year 2011 budget. Fiscal year 2011 technically started way back on Oct. 1, but lawmakers have passed a series of stop-gap measures to keep things running until they can get their act together on a bill.

Joel Packer, a principal with the Raben Group in Washington and a veteran K-12 lobbyist, called a short-term extension "the worst option for education."

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments

  • YARGI YAYINLARI: I¡¦m now not sure where you are getting your info, read more
  • stop smoking: you have an incredible blog here! would you wish to read more
  • web hosting: Campaign K-12: 'Only Bill Richardson Has a Bold Plan for read more
  • kpss: What is Taking place i am new to this, I read more
  • domy RzeszĂłw: Iˇ¦ve recently started a website, the information you offer on read more