Setting federal spending levels for fiscal year 2011 has been a wild ride, and it’s not even close to over yet.
This is what is supposed to happen each year: The President makes a budget request in February. Congress debates and passes a budget by September 30, which is when the federal fiscal year ends. The approved budget bill is then sent to the President for his signature.
This has not been the case for the FY 2011 budget. Right now, most federal education and child discretionary programs are operating at FY 10 levels, per a continuing resolution (CR), which was passed by the 111th Congress (when both the House and Senate were controlled by the Democrats). The current CR expires on March 4. (Read Early Ed Watch’s posts here on the December CR and the fate of the Senate Omnibus, a comprehensive spending bill that the Senate never brought forward for a full vote.)
On February 11, the House Appropriations Committee proposed a new continuing resolution (CR) that would set funding levels for discretionary programs through the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2011. After a weeklong debate, and several amendments, the new CR was passed by the House (now under Republican control). It proposes significant cuts to federal discretionary programs, $60 billion in all, with more than $5 billion from the Department of Education and more than $1.1 billion from early education and childcare programs.
The table below provides a review of how programs that provide or include early education have fared in the various funding proposals put forth over the extended budget process, including the House’s new CR:
Enacted FY 2010
FY 2011 President’s Request
House Subcomm. FY 2011
Senate Comm. FY 2011
Senate Omnibus FY 2011
House Proposed CR FY 2011
(Figures in $ Billions)
Head Start (including Early Head Start)
Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)
IDEA Grants to States
Race to the Top
Early Learning Challenge Fund
* The House Subcommittee proposed funding listing the total amount for IDEA as “special education.” It did not break down levels for specific programs under IDEA. The total amount for special education was $ 12.99 billion.
Note: IDEA Infants & Families and IDEA preschool funding is left off because we did not have complete information for these subprograms.
Several other education programs would experience cuts under the House proposal including:
- $ 336.6 million cut to School Improvement Grants.
- $ 500 million cut to Teacher Quality State Grants.
- $ 268 million cut to Safe Schools and Citizenship Education.
- $ 235 million cut to 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
The next step is for the Senate to take up the House’s funding bill. Word is that the still Democrat-controlled Senate will reject the cuts to education programs. The President has also said he would veto a spending bill that includes such significant cuts to education funding. The Republicans say they are serious about making cuts to education and to other programs that benefit young children and their families. But what will the short-term and long-term effects of such cuts be?
Compromise or government shutdown are the options. To avert a shutdown some type of compromise must be made before March 4, the date the current continuing resolution expires.
Stay tuned for more news on fiscal year 2011 funding. For all of Early Ed Watch’s coverage on the FY 11 budget visit here. You may also be interested in reading about President Obama’s budget request for fiscal year 2012. Find it here. Also, you can read Ed Money Watch’s recent post on the House’s CR for more about proposed funding levels for other K-12 and post-secondary education programs.