NASS statement on proposed changes in federal education budget

The Trump Administration has released an abridged version of the president’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request. President Trump asked for a significant decrease ($9 billion or 13%) in the U.S. Department of Education’s budget, but the document does not describe in detail exactly how every program would be addressed. The full budget will be released in April or May.

This budget is not likely, as currently crafted, to be approved by Congress. Appropriations measures are subject to the filibuster in the Senate and therefore the president would need to secure 60 votes, including 8 Democrats, to secure passage of any spending bills. Nonetheless, it is instructive to review the request to better understand the administration’s spending priorities. The budget request as it currently stands, includes the following allocations for the U.S. Department of Education:

• U.S. Department of Education Aggregate - $59 billion ($9 billion less than the current continuing resolution)
• School Choice Initiatives - $1.4 billion increase, including $168 million for the Charter Schools Program; $250 million for a new private school choice program; and $1 billion increase for Title I with the goal to encourage school districts to adopt open enrollment models and funding portability systems.
• IDEA - $13 billion (level funding)
• ESSA Title II - $0 ($2.4 billion decrease)
• 21st Century Community Learning Centers - $0 ($1.2 billion decrease)
• GEAR UP - $219 million ($104 million decrease)
• TRIO - $808 million ($92 million decrease)
• The proposed budget also eliminates 20 other categorical programs. The document does not specify the full list of target programs, but does reference Striving Readers (~$190 million in FY2016), Teacher Quality Partnership (~$43 million in FY2016), Impact Aid Support Payments for Federal Property (~$66.8 million in FY2016), and International Education programs (~$72 million in FY2016).

We will continue seeking additional information on the administration’s plans. As has been the practice in recent years, we do not expect the budget to move through the full process until at least the end of the year, but the Senate and House appropriations committees will be busy working on it during the coming weeks and months.

National Association of School Superintendents