You will recall that federal fiscal year 2015 (FY15) started October 1. This represents federal dollars that will be in your schools for the 2015-16 school year. Surprising no one, Congress was once again unable to complete its appropriations work on time and opted to use a continuing resolution (CR). CRs are used to extend current government spending (level funding), avoiding a government shutdown while Congress works to do something it should have already completed.

The current CR was passed before Congress adjourned and returned home for August recess and the final push of the 2014 campaign. Congress may not take budget timelines/completion serious, but they do take recess very serious. Don’t encroach on recess! I digress…

The current CR expires TOMORROW, December 11. Loving the ever-addicting threat of government shutdown and pushing negotiations to the last minute, Congress released late on the night of December 9 the long-awaited FY15 Cromnibus (a witty, if over-trendy, mash-up of CR and omnibus). Process wise, the House Rules Committee will meet today. We will likely get a one or two day CR to buy the time Congress needs to be compliant with transparency laws. This CRomnibus should be adopted by the end of the week (refer back to earlier comment on Congress and recess).

Here’s what you need to know re: education funding and FY15. Generally speaking, if it is not listed below, it is level funded (and most programs in FY14 were not fully restored to pre-sequester levels, so many programs are level funded below pre-sequestration levels):

  • US Education Department discretionary funding, overall, is down by $166 million. Excluding Pell grants, the USED has a net increase of $137 million. 
  • INCREASES
    • Early Education: Head Start is level funded and Child Care Development Block Grants received an increase of $75 million
    • Title I: $25m increase
    • IDEA: $25m increase
    • Charter School Grants: $5m increase
    • 21st Century Community Learning Centers: $2m increase
    • English Language Acquisition Grants: $14m increase
    • Striving Readers: $2m increase
    • Mathematics and Science Partnership: $3m increase
    • Funds for the Improvement of Education: $255.6m increase, $250m of which is for the Preschool Development Grants
      • FIE also includes $25m for Arts, $10m for Full Service Community Schools, $25m for Innovative Approaches to Literacy, $10m for Javits Gifted/Talented
    • IDEA Grants for Infants/Families: $.058m increase
  • DECREASES
    • Race to the Top: Eliminated
    • Investing in Innovation: $21m decrease
    • Safe and Drug Free Schools National Program: $20m decrease
    • High School Graduation Initiative: $46.2m decrease
    • Transition to Teaching: $.062m decrease
    • School Leadership: $9.3m decrease
    • Teacher Incentive Fund: $58.7m decrease
    • Carol White Physical Education Program: $27.5m decrease
    • NAEP: $3m decrease

Other Language to Note:

  • Secure/Rural Schools (Forest Counties): NOT funded in the CRomnibus.
  • School Nutrition Waivers: States can grant an exemption from the whole grain requirements to LEAs that demonstrate a hardship, including financial hardship, in procuring whole grain products. Additionally, sodium standards cannot be reduced below Target 1 until the latest scientific research establishes the reduction is beneficial for children. Also, States can vary the frequency of monitoring and compliance reviews of each school food authority based on past school performance, with no cycle extending more than five years. 
  • ESEA Title II Teacher Quality State Grants: Allows up to 2.3% to be used for competitive awards for teacher/principal recruitment, training and PD activities.
  • Unaccompanied Minors: Dedicates the $14 million increase in ELL grants to LEAs with a significant increase in unaccompanied minor children. State-to-local grants, available to states with at least one county with 50 or more unaccompanied children released to sponsors since January 1, 2014. 
  • Statewide Data Systems: Allows for up to $6 million of funds in the Educational Technical Assistance Act to support activities to improve data coordination, quality, and use at the local/state/national level. 
  • Comprehensive School Safety Initiative: $75 million for this Justice Department program
  • School Improvement Grants: Includes languages that any final requirements for the SIG program adhere to bill language that allows LEAs to implement an alternative state-determined school improvement strategy

Related Resources: