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Early Ed Watch

A Blog from New America's Early Education Initiative

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Update on FY 2011 Federal Funding

Published:  December 21, 2010

Congress has decided not to finalize fiscal year 2011 spending levels until next year. Until it finalizes funding, Congress has temporarily funded most federal programs at the 2010 level.

What this means is that the next Congress, which will be sworn-in in early January, will ultimately determine the final fiscal year 2011 spending levels.

On December 8, the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution (CR) to maintain funding levels through the end of the fiscal year, which ends September 30. (You can read our post on it here.) In the House measure, while overall funding levels remained flat, some funding levels were adjusted between programs and accounts. Head Start and Child Care Development Block Grants (CCDBG), for example, received slight increases.

Then last week, the Senate attempted to bring forth an omnibus bill to set fiscal year 2011 spending. It would have increased funding for several education and children programs and included funding for the Early Learning Challenge Fund. The bill, however, did not have the support it needed to pass and was pulled from consideration last Thursday.

(An omnibus bill incorporates multiple appropriation bills into one spending bill. Read more about it on our sister blog Ed Money Watch.)

Early childhood advocates are disappointed about the failure of the omnibus bill. Read First Five Years Fund’s reaction here.

Today the Senate passed its own continuing resolution that would maintain current spending levels until March 4. The Senate measure doesn’t include the same adjustments for Head Start and CCDBG that were included by the House. The House is expected to vote this evening on the Senate measure. And signs suggest that the House will pass the Senate’s continuing resolution.

Remember that FY 2010 levels do not include the additional funding made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. ARRA funds allowed for the establishment of new Head Start programs and other early childhood education services. Additionally, maintaining FY 2010 levels, at least for now, means no funding for additional Race to the Top or Investing in Innovation competitions. It also means no Early Learning Challenge Fund. We’ll be watching, though, to see if it comes up again in the new Congress.

Below are the FY 2010 funding levels compared to the President’s budget request for key early education and childcare programs.

Fiscal Year 2010 Funding Levels Compared to the President’s Request

($ billions)


FY 2010 Level

President’s Request

Child Care and Development Block Grant

$ 2.1

$ 2.9

Head Start

$ 7.2

$ 8.2

Title I

$ 14.5

$ 14.5

IDEA Grants to States

$ 11.5

$ 11.75

IDEA Infants and Families

$ .439

$. 439


A list of our posts on President Obama's budget request and Congress's actions to date can be found here.

For a complete timeline of the fiscal year 2011 appropriations process, read this analysis from the Federal Education Budget Project.

For a detailed explanation of the fiscal year 2011 Congressional Budget Actions, read this policy paper from the Federal Education Budget Project.

And for more on the proposed funding so far for birth to 12th grade education and childcare programs, read these previous posts from Early Ed Watch: FY 2011 Appropriations Part 1 and Part 2.

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