President Trump signs into law a $1.1 trillion spending bill that will fund government programs through the rest of the fiscal year, avoiding the draconian reductions that he had originally sought for programs for children, youth and the poor.
The bill passed by Congress rejected the drastic last-minute cuts to domestic programs Trump asked for and also left out most ideological policy riders that had been sought by right wing members. It will fund the government programs through Sept. 30.
In general Democrats declared victory over the spending bill because it dodged the budget axe and stonewalled Trump priorities, like constructing a massive Mexican border wall.
The bill provides $68.2 billion in discretionary funding for the Education Dept., a $182 million increase above the comparable FY 2016 level.
For DoEd’s Title I Grants, the budget sets aside $15.5 billion, a $550 million increase above FY 2016, including $450 million from the consolidation of the out-of-favor School Improvement Grants program. This funding level is $447 million more than the level included in Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for FY 2016, and will help states in the first full year of implementation as responsibility and accountability for schools are returned to states and school districts. Title I provides basic and flexible funding to low-income school districts and allows states, local school districts, and schools to decide how to best use limited resources to improve student outcomes.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) program got a slight bump of $90 million to $12 billion for grants to states under part B of the IDEA. This is the main funding stream to support special education services for children with disabilities.
The bill also makes a winner out of the Impact Aid program, funding it at $1.33 billion, an increase of $23 million above FY 2016. Impact Aid provides flexible support to local school districts impacted by the presence of federally-owned land and activities, such as military bases.
The bill provides $400 million for a new formula block grant, Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, to help support activities to provide students with a well-rounded education, ensure safe and supportive learning environments, and use technology to improve instruction. This represents a $122 million increase over the combined FY 2016 funding levels for programs eliminated to create this new formula block grant.
- Charter Schools – $342 million, an increase of $9 million above FY 2016, for grants to states, charter management organizations, and other related entities for the start-up, replication, and expansion of high-quality charter schools.
- Promise Neighborhoods – $73.2 million, level with FY 2016. The bill includes new language supporting the extension of current high-quality Promise Neighborhoods programs. This program supports the development and implementation of comprehensive neighborhood-based programs designed to combat the effects of poverty and to improve education and life outcomes for children and youth, from birth through college.
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers – $1.2 billion, an increase of $25 million above FY 2016, for grants to states to support academic enrichment activities for students before school, after school, and during the summer.
- TRIO Programs – $950 million, an increase of $50 million above FY 2016. TRIO programs provide services to students from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them enter and complete college and postgraduate education. And, it sets aside $340 million for GEAR UP, which is $17 million more than the 2016 enacted level.
- Institute for Museum and Library Services – $231 million, a $1 million increase above FY 2016. This agency supports programs for museums and libraries that encourage innovation, provide life-long learning opportunities, promote cultural and civic engagement, and improve access to a variety of services and information. Trump wants to eliminate this program.
- The bill sets aside $250 million for Preschool Development Grants, which is the same as the 2016 enacted level. The grants, the successor to the DoEd’s Race to the Top Grants, have proven to be very popular with states and school districts.
The bill provides $12.09 billion in discretionary funding for the Labor Dept., $83 million below FY 2016. The nation’s largest career technical training and educational program for youth, Job Corps, will be funded at $1.7 billion, a $15 million increase above FY 2016. Approximately 95% of Job Corps students successfully attain industry-recognized certifications.
Another important youth program, YouthBuild, will receive $84.5 million, level with FY 2016, to help at-risk high school drop-outs develop skills and knowledge to obtain industry-recognized job credentials, apprenticeships, and employment. And, the bill funds the Apprenticeship Opportunities program at $95 million, an increase of $5 million, to continue and expand a grant program established in FY 2016 to expand the range and number of apprenticeship opportunities in a wide variety of fields nationwide. And, it provides $2.7 billion for WIOA Job Training State Grants, which is the same level as the 2016 enacted level.
The bill provides $77.7 billion in discretionary funding for the Health and Human Services Dept. (HHS), a $2.7 billion increase above the comparable FY 2016 level, not including cap adjustments.
The bill provides Community Health Centers (CHCs) with $1.49 billion, level with FY 2016. There are more than 10,400 Health Centers nationally, serving over 24 million patients per year.
Rural Health Care will be funded at $156.1 million, an increase of $6.5 million above FY 2016, for rural health programs. The obstacles faced by patients and providers in rural communities are unique and often significantly different than those in urban areas. The bill focuses resources toward efforts and programs to help rural communities.
- Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) – $2.9 billion, an increase of $95 million above FY 2016. This funding builds on the consistent funding increases in recent years to help states implement quality improvement reforms in the CCDBG Act of 2014.
- Head Start – $9.3 billion, an increase of $85 million above FY 2016, to help all Head Start program keep up with costs, recruit and retain highly qualified staff, maintain enrollment, and provide high-quality early childhood service for children and families.
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – $3.39 billion, level with FY 2016. LIHEAP provides home heating and cooling assistance for low-income households.
- It provides $948 million for Unaccompanied Minor Children, which is the same as the 2016 enacted level.
- It sets aside $1 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which is $65 million less than the 2016 enacted level.
- It will spend $286 million for Title X Family Planning, which is the same as the 2016 enacted level. House appropriators had tried to cut this program.
House Democrats noted that the spending measure avoided the elimination of four programs targeted by Republicans in the DoEd budget. The measure provides $27 million for Innovative Approaches to Literacy, which is the same as the 2016 enacted level; $98 million for Magnet Schools, which is $1 million more than the 2016 enacted level; $27 million for Arts in Education, the same as 2016; and $43 million for Teacher Quality Partnerships, which is the same as the 2016 enacted level.
Although the FY 2017 spending measure avoids the deep cuts sought by the president, appropriations for most programs of importance to CYF readers have been shrinking over time. These programs are funded below FY 2010 levels, taking inflation into account. Close to one-third have been cut at least 25%. This list includes most education and training, housing and home energy assistance, Head Start, WIC, substance abuse and mental health services not provided through Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act, many public health services, refugee assistance, and other services for children and youth. This bill does not include Medicaid, SNAP, or other programs that don’t require annual appropriations from Congress.
Info: https://goo.gl/IAeUsf (report titled: “Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2017 Omnibus Agreement Summary”).