By Jay A. Diskey
The nation’s public schools may be in for record amounts of federal funding in the next fiscal year. And, a trend toward higher levels of funding may just be beginning.
The U.S. House of Representatives in late July approved legislation that proposes $102.8 billion in program funding for the U.S. Department of Education in the fiscal year 2022 – a 40% increase of $29.3 billion above the current level. Funding for K-12 programs would increase by 66%, an increase of $25 billion.
The budget reflects the Biden Administration’s desire to take significant new steps to support disadvantaged students including English learners. Many of the funding increases seek to transform urban schools and provide greater salary support for teachers. White House officials have said that they plan additional, transformative funding increases in the future.
K-12 education highlights of the House budget proposal include:
· $36 billion for Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies, a 118% increase of $19.5 billion.
· $1 billion for the English Language Acquisition program, a 25.4% increase of $203 million.
· $1.3 billion for Student Support and Academic Enrichment State Grants, an increase of $85 million.
· $1.4 billion for Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, an increase of $100 million.
The next stop for the House budget proposal is the U.S. Senate, which will consider the legislation this fall. While the Senate may change some of the funding levels passed by the House, it is expected that many of the increases will be approved.
What can district leaders and classroom teachers do as Congress reviews and debates education funding levels? First, stay connected to Vista Higher Learning. VHL will continue to bring you updates and news as part of our “Funding Matters” initiative. Next, as the funding levels are finalized on Capitol Hill, begin to plan for program expansion. Work closely with school and district leaders in implementing new and expanded programs. Finally, when and where possible, include parents and families in the planning and implementation of new programs.
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