House Committee approves federal Fiscal Year 2018 Education budget

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved the Fiscal Year 2018 funding bill for several federal agencies, including the Department of Education. The measure must still be approved by the full House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and be signed by President Donald Trump.

School Choice

The measure did not include $1 billion requested by President Donald Trump to promote public and private school choice programs because the proposed Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS) program is not yet authorized by federal law. School choice programs, often referred to as “vouchers,” usually divert public tax dollars from public schools to private schools.

Charter Schools

The committee approved $27 billion in additional funding for charter school funding over Fiscal Year 2017, about $130 million less than the administration had requested. In Kansas, charter schools operate under the supervision of the locally-elected board of education. In 2015-16, there were 10 charter schools in Kansas.

Special Education

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is slated to receive a $87 million increase over FY2017 and $309 million over the administration’s FY2018 request.

Title II

The bill eliminates Title II, Part A “Supporting Effective Instruction” funds that school districts use for teacher professional development, to lower class sizes, promote STEM initiatives, and many other purposes. Kansas schools traditionally receive about $18 million in Title II, Part A funding.

Career and Technical Education State Grants

Are funded at Fiscal Year 2017 levels; Kansas receives about $10 million annually from those grants.

21st Century Learning Centers

The Appropriations Committee approved $1 billion for the 21st Century Learning Center program grants, which Kansas schools use to provide before- and after- school programs and summer school.

The appropriation is a $191 million cut from FY 2017; however, the Trump Administration had proposed to eliminate the program in FY 2018.

Impact Aid

The committee retained $66 million in federal impact aid that compensates Kansas schools for $30 million in foregone property taxes and for education costs associated with military-connected students.

 

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