Senate Appropriators Consider Labor-HHS-Education Bill

Last week, Senate appropriators began and then halted their consideration of the Fiscal Year (FY)15 Labor-HHS-Education bill, the measure which funds programs in the Department of Education, as well as the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services.   Though the details are still preliminary, at this point it appears that the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee cut the School Leadership Program by $8.8 million down from $25.8 million in FY 14 to $17 million for FY 15.  This is especially disappointing since the President had proposed—and AFSA had advocated for—allocating $35 million—an increase of almost $10 million—for the School Leadership program for FY 15.

The bill passed out of Subcommittee on Tuesday June 10th, but the full Committee markup of this bill was essentially postponed indefinitely.  It appears that a variety of factors—including Republican frustration over the use of certain budgetary maneuvers, or what they are calling “gimmicks” within the bill, and Republican plans to introduce amendments on controversial issues—contributed to the postponement of the full Committee markup.

Since the bill did not get to full Committee, the text of the bill and accompanying detail from the report are not publically available at this point.  However, based on the released summary of the bill and information gathered by our friends at the Committee for Education Funding, we discovered the proposed cut to the school leadership program.

We also learned that the Subcommittee once again proposed $90 million—which is level funding—for Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities National Programs for FY 15.  Within the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities allocation, the Subcommittee proposed shifting around some of the funds.  For example, they proposed:

  • $50 million for school climate transformation grants (up from $33 million in FY 14, of which $23.6 million is going to grants to school districts).
  • $25 million for Project Prevent grants to help school districts serve students who are exposed to pervasive violence (up from $10 million in FY 14).
  • Eliminating funding for School Emergency Management Activities (which in FY 14 will provide state educational agencies with $30 million in grants to assist districts develop and implement emergency management plans.)

In terms of other programs:

  • Early childhood and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) were the big “winners” in the bill.  Within HHS, NIH received $30.459 billion, an increase of $605 million over FY 14.  Also within HHS, Head Start received $8.743 billion, an increase of $145 million and the Child Care and Development Block Grant received $2.458 billion, an increase of $100 million.  Lastly, preschool development grants—a joint HHS/Department of Education effort, received $350 million, an increase of $100 million.
  • Certain Department of Education programs—including some of the foundational formula grant programs—received slight increases:
    • Title I received $14.434 billion, an increase of $50 million.
    • IDEA received $11.512 billion, an increase of $40 million.
    • Career/Technical Education received $1.123 billion, an increase of $5 million.
  • Many education programs would be level-funded in FY 15:
    • Teacher Quality State Grants (Title II, Part A) would stay level at $2.350 billion.
    • 21st Century Community Learning Centers would stay level at $1.149 billion.
    • Charter Schools funding would stay level at $248.2 million.