The President’s official budget proposal for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 was officially released yesterday. The proposal closely matches with an earlier version leaked to the Washington Post last week and provides all the details missing from the March “skinny budget.”
While education stakeholders have been preparing for deep cuts since the release of the skinny budget and last week’s sneak peak, the official release was still staggering. Education Department funding under the proposal would be slashed by $9.2B, or 13.5 percent, overall for FY18. The recent spending agreement for FY17 has the Education Department funded at $68.2B.
Cuts of this magnitude will be devastating for students, families, and schools who rely on a strong public education system to prepare children to be successful citizens and participants in the next generation workforce. For all of the focus and priority given to job training and economic development by President Trump, this proposal shows the Administration is not willing to walk the walk and make the investment necessary in a strong education system.
For schools and service providers, as SIIA has noted previously, a President’s budget proposal is simply that – a proposal. It is not the law and no presidential proposal has been adopted wholesale by Congress. For historical context, EdWeek reports that this is the largest single-year cut proposed by a president since Ronald Reagan’s proposed 35.7 percent cut in 1983. In that year, Congress ultimately increased overall education funding despite the President’s proposal. While such an outcome is not likely this time around, it should be noted that this proposal has already received bipartisan negative reaction from Capitol Hill and is extremely unlikely to be adopted verbatim.
So, what are some highlights in the President’s official budget proposal for FY2018? (Note: The President’s FY18 budget proposal does not reflect the final FY17 spending agreement finalized earlier this month)
Title I of ESSA – Education for the Disadvantaged
Total funding for Title I would seemingly rise to $15.9B from the current level of $14.9B. However, the additional billion dollars would be tagged for a new school choice program – Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS). In addition, the traditional formula funding of Title I would miss out on the additional $550M appropriated in the final FY17 spending agreement finalized a few weeks ago. This would leave traditional Title I funding short $550M.
Title I funding is distributed to schools beginning the July 1 following the start of the federal fiscal year and are available to schools through the end of the following fiscal year. FY17 Title I funding will be distributed starting July 1, 2017 and will be available to districts through September 30, 2018.
21st Century Community Learning Centers – After School Programs
As previously suggested by the Administration, after school programs funded through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program would be eliminated. In the FY17 spending agreement however, Congress actually boosted funding for after school programs by $25M to nearly $1.2B in total.
Title IV Block Grants – Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants
These new grants under ESSA received their first appropriation, $400M, in the FY17 spending agreement. The budget proposal would eliminate funding for the program. SSAE is the only investment in ESSA targeted specifically for education technology.
Career and Technical Education
State grants for career and technical education would be cut by approximately $168M. In FY17, CTE programs received $1.17B which was the same level they received in the previous fiscal year.
TRIO and GEAR UP
Programs providing supports for first-generation and low-income college students and early college prep and awareness activities for elementary and secondary students respectively, TRIO and GEAR UP would be cut $263M in total. TRIO would lose $142M and was funded at $950M in FY17. GEAR UP would lose $121M and was funded at $350M in FY17.
See this great interactive chart from EdWeek expanding on the funding shift from FY17 to the President’s FY18 proposal.