While the recently-passed federal budget bill may read like alphabet soup, a thorough knowledge of the new pots of funds created for K-12 technology and training will serve the savvy school fundraiser well. STFB drilled the experts for the early scoop on where this new money will appear–and how the astute grantswriter can get a early leg up on the competition.

The $520 billion omnibus spending bill signed into law by President Clinton on Oct. 21 provides $773 million for school technology and training. That amount includes two new programs for technology and training that you will want to add to your schedule of upcoming opportunites.

On Oct. 20, the bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 65 to 29, shortly after the House voted 333 to 95 to pass the bill as well. The nearly $800 million that will be spent represents about a 20 percent increase over the $584 million allocated to school technology in the fiscal 1998 budget. Most of the school technology funds will be disbursed through ED programs, said the Department of Education’s Julie Kaninkow.

The spending bill includes two major sources of funding for education technology: a new program to train new teachers to use technology, and the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund (TLCF), a program created by the Clinton administration in 1993 to help schools buy and use technology.

The budget for the TLCF came in at $425 million, the same as last year. TLCF is a block grant awarded to states, which then set their own competitive funding programs for schools.

“There’s so much still to be done in the states, and it would have been helpful to have the increase,” said Kaninkow. “But we are very excited to have the new $75 million for technology teacher training.”

Teacher Training

The additional $75 million will create a new initiative “to prepare tomorrow’s teacher for technology teaching,” Kaninkow said.

Kaninkow said it wasn’t yet determined which federal agency would oversee the training program, but it would most likely be through either ED’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement or the Office of Post-Secondary Education.

K-12 schools might not be the major direct beneficiary of this grant, which is intended to help schools of education prepare teachers-in-training to use technology, Kaninkow said. “We see schools of education becoming main applicants,” she said, “but it could also be local schools or states.”

The regulations implementing the program might require colleges and universities applying for funding to form partnerships with K-12 schools, Kaninkow said.

Along with the $75 million for teacher training comes another new program. A $10 million program will establish grants to public-private partnerships in low-income communities. The new money is intended to help low-income residents use technology for education and employment.

TLCF

The only real disappointment, Kaninkow said, is that the budget does not include a $50-million increase for the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund (TLCF), a program created by the Clinton administration in 1993 to help schools buy and use technology.

The budget for that program came in at $425 million, the same as last year. TLCF is a block grant awarded to states, which then set their own competitive funding programs for schools.

“There’s so much still to be done in the states, and it would have been helpful to have the increase,” said Kaninkow. “But we are very excited to have the new $75 million for technology teacher training.”

Educators are hailing the budget bill as a victory for schools. “It’s great,” said Julie Kaninkow, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education (ED). “Overall I would say that we were very pleased and encouraged by the budget.

U.S. Department of Education

http://www.ed.gov

Rep. Bill Goodling

http://www.house.gov/goodling

U.S. House of Representatives

http://www.house.go