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Posted - 12/15/2009 10:00am
Congress OKs Budget With Increase for Education
Congress OKs Budget With Increase for Education

Congress last week approved a fiscal year 2010 spending measure that would provide level funding for key education programs, even as lawmakers and the Obama administration weighed the prospect of a jobs package that could include new education aid for cash-strapped states and localities.

A House-Senate conference committee Dec. 8 agreed to a bill that would finance programs in the U.S. Department of Education at about $63.7 billion, a 2 percent increase over fiscal 2009, but a 0.7 percent decrease over the president’s request of $64.2 billion.

The House of Representatives voted 221-202 on Dec. 9 to pass the bill. The Senate approved the measure on Dec. 13, 57-35.

Those figures don’t include up to $100 billion in education spending in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic-stimulus program, which covers fiscal 2009 and 2010.

The House-Senate compromise includes $14.5 billion for Title I grants to districts to help cover the cost of educating disadvantaged students, about the same level as fiscal 2009.

That’s a shift from both the president’s fiscal 2010 education budget request and the version of the fiscal 2010 spending bill that passed the Senate Appropriations Committee in July. ("Senate Panel Rejects Bid to Further Boost TIF," July 29, 2009.)

President Barack Obama’s budget would have cut Title I grants to districts by $1.5 billion and, instead, steered $1 billion to Title I School Improvement Grants. Those grants are aimed at helping states and districts turn around schools struggling to meet the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act, the 2002 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

But lawmakers rejected that plan. Instead, the Title I grant program, which received $3 billion in fiscal 2010 through the stimulus, would be level-funded in the appropriations bill at $546 million.

“We are definitely excited and appreciative for the restoration of Title I,” said Mary E. Kusler, a lobbyist for the American Association of School Administrators in Arlington, Va.

Link to the full text of the article here


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