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House Spending Bill Would Give Small Boost to Education, Reject Cuts by DeVos



The U.S. Department of Education would get a $71 billion budget in a House spending bill for the next spending year released Thursday, a relatively small increase from current spending levels.

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' agency would get an additional $43 million in discretionary money through the legislation proposed by the House appropriations subcommittee for fiscal 2019. That's actually the opposite of what she wants, since earlier this year the Trump administration proposed a $63.2 billion budget for the department for fiscal 2019—that proposal came out before Trump signed a spending bill in March for fiscal 2018 providing $70.9 billion for the department. The department's largest program, Title I aid targeted at students from low-income backgrounds, would get nearly $15.8 billion in the legislation, the same amount it gets now. 

Several prominent programs would receive flat funding or get moderately sized increases in the new House spending proposal. Two major programs DeVos sought to eliminate in the administration's fiscal 2019 budget program, Title II funding for educators' professional development and after-school aid, are still funded in the House bill; Title II Part A is flat-funded at nearly $2.1 billion. And the legislation does not appear to include funding for DeVos' proposals to expand K-12 choice through new programs, including $1 billion she pitched for both public and private school choice through an initiative she dubbed Opportunity Grants. 

Here's how the proposal treats several other high-profile programs. 

  • State special education grants would get an additional $50 million over current fiscal 2018 levels and $12.3 billion overall through the legislation.
  • The big block grant for school districts under Title IV, Part A, would get a $100 million increase, up to $1.2 billion. School districts can use this grant for a variety of programs and purposes, from school safety to education technology. Learn more about it in a recent story here.
  • The office for civil rights would get $117 million, the same amount it's receiving in fiscal 2018. DeVos has sought to shrink this part of her department. 
  • Impact Aid, which helps districts with tax bases affected by federal activities (think military bases), would get an increase of $52 million to a total of more than $1.4 billion for fiscal 2019.
  • The legislation would increase federal charter school grants by $50 million to $450 million; DeVos has supported budget increases for these grants. 
  • The bill would flat-fund the 21st Century Community Learning Centers at about $1.2 billion, which provides support for after-school programs. DeVos has sought to eliminate this aid from the federal budget. 
  • Career and technical education would get $1.9 billion, an increase of $115 million over current levels. Earlier this week, Senate lawmakers announced that they plan to consider a reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act—the House passed its own Perkins reauthorization last year. 
  • The Institute for Education Sciences would get $613 million in the legislation, which would be flat funded. 

The House subcommittee will hold a markup of this legislation on Friday. 

Image via Getty Images

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