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Congress Takes First Step to Fund Magnet Schools for FY 2018

This week the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved their FY 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill. The legislation passed by a partisan vote (28-22) and includes $96.4 million in funding for the Magnet Schools Assistance Program. This is welcome news as the U.S. Department of Education completes its first five-year grant competition this summer. Once complete, funding will be available for grantees participating in the program for the first time under the Every Student Succeeds Act or ESSA.

Overall the bill reported by the committee would cut funding for the U.S. Department of Education by $2.4 billion. In comparison, President Trump’s budget released in May calls for a $9.2 billion cut to DOE. A large portion of the cuts in the House bill come from eliminating Title II formula grants provided by the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program. These grants are used for  teacher professional development and reducing class sizes.

The Trump Administration also proposed the elimination of this program in its budget stating, “the grants are poorly targeted and funds are spread too thinly to have a meaningful impact on student outcomes. In addition, there is limited evidence that teacher professional development, a primary activity funded by the program, has led to increases in student achievement.”

Congressman David Price from North Carolina who attempted to restore funding to the program through the amendment process, pointed out that 98 percent of school districts rely on this funding. He added, “None of the education reforms that we talk about and want to implement will be worth a thing without a first-rate teaching force.”

In other areas, the House Appropriations Committee bill would:

  • Level fund or freeze Title I dollars used to support low-income disadvantaged students;
  • Increase IDEA funding for students with disabilities by $200 million;
  • It would fund career and technical education at last year’s level;
  • Increase charter school funding by $28 million;
  • Funding would not be provided to support the controversial Title I portability and voucher proposal included in the president’s budget.

Now that the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced its appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018, which begins October 1, the U.S. Senate must follow suit and pass similar legislation before submitting a complete bill to the president for his signature. As the appropriations process continues we will keep you informed of any important developments.

Policy Insider Blog » Congress Takes First Step to Fund Magnet Schools for FY 2018

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