AASA Summary and Response to FY22 Omnibus

 Permanent link   All Posts

AASA Summary and Response to FY22 Omnibus

Earlier today Congress released its final FY22 appropriations omnibus package. Read our memo for a full overview and analysis.

AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech issued the following statement in response to today’s bill: “The FY22 omnibus bill as it relates to education is, at best, a mixed bag. We commend Democratic leaders for going to bat for the increases that were realized; it is clear they heard the message from the field and pushed for prioritizing education funding. At the same time, the bill misses the mark on what could have been, especially in the context of what had been proposed across the administration, House, and Senate. 

We are deeply troubled by the lack of an extension for the school nutrition waivers, a seeming failure to acknowledge that student hunger needs will continue into the 2022-23 school year, and a willingness to undo all the good that has been done--all the meals that have been fed--under this initially bipartisan proposal. Complicating the meals piece even further, the end of these commonsense flexibilities comes at the exact time that schools are seeing increased prices and supply chain issues. 

Specific to the IDEA funding level, this is a cut in comparison to current ARP levels. This omnibus was the first time in my career at AASA that Congress had a true opportunity to redirect itself forward on the IDEA glidepath. We applaud them for the small increases included in today’s bill, while also holding them accountable for once again leaving IDEA severely underfunded.  The proposed level puts schools on an IDEA funding cliff and all but ensures that ARP IDEA dollars will go to one time expenditures instead of sustainable quality investments. We did this once under ARRA, and we had reasonable hope that Congress would prioritize this ARP funding level, given both the chronic underfunding of IDEA and the lessons learned from ARRA. 

This significant shift away from proposed funding levels for K12 education is the second time in less than a year that the nation’s public schools were cut as part of broader negotiations. Last fall, K12 schools saw the proposed infrastructure funding for schools pushed out of the Build Back Better negotiations. Today’s bill shows, once again, the disconnect between education funding proposals and education funding realities. What we fund is what we value, and AASA urges Congress to do better when it comes to truly and meaningfully funding education. Our nation's public school system leaders expected better, and our nation's schools and students deserved more. At the end of the day, though, our nation's public school system can and will make this work, ensuring that school doors remain open and ready to educate all who walk through.”