(UPDATED 3/12) Earlier this week, President Obama signed into law a new continuing resolution (CR) – a piece of legislation related to the federal budget – that will keep the government running until March 18. The CR, which was first passed by the House and approved by the Senate, includes $4 billion in total cuts from the federal government’s fiscal year 2010’s discretionary spending levels. About $890 million of the cuts come from federal education department programs.
The resolution eliminates two programs that support early education in part: Striving Readers and Even Start. In 2010, Striving Readers was redesigned to provide grants to programs that support literacy development from birth through 12th grade, and states have been awaiting final instructions on how to apply for the competitive grants that come with the program. For many years, Even Start has funded family literacy programs. In budget requests for both 2011 and 2012, the President had proposed that funding for these programs be folded into a newly consolidated literacy program to be called “Effective Teaching and Learning: Literacy Initiative.”
The new CR also eliminates funding that had been designated for earmarked programs and projects. These cuts included:
- $21 million from the Children and Families Services program. Head Start falls under this block of programs, but, as far as we can tell, funding for Head Start would remain at the fiscal year 2010 level of $7.2 billion;
- $1 million from the Child Care Development Block Grant program;
- $5 million from School Improvement Programs;
- $229 million from Innovation and Improvement;
- $32 million from Safe Schools and Citizenship Education; and
- $22 million from Special Education, funding for IDEA Grants to the States will remain the same.
(For more details on the full spectrum of education funding cuts up through higher education, see Tuesday's post by our sister blog, Ed Money Watch.)
Once again, funding for fiscal year 2011 is nowhere close to being settled. The next budget battle is already underway, with the new deadline for compromise on March 18. Will we continue to see these short-term resolutions to keep the government open? Or, will a decision finally be reached to establish funding levels through September 30, which is when the current fiscal year ends.
In the meantime, Congress has already begun holding budget hearings on the President’s budget request for FY 2012. Read our analysis of how early education fares here.
UPDATE, 3/12: Congress cut funding for Striving Readers for the 2011 fiscal year only. The U.S. Department of Education issued the following statement today: “While the Continuing Resolution that eliminated the 2011 funds is currently law, it could still be changed in the final appropriation. This means States will have to begin to develop their applications without being sure of the funding status. However, we are moving forward with the competition using FY 2010 funds.”