President Clinton’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2000 asks Congress for $1.5 billion in technology funding for schools. If the president’s budget is approved, that figure would mark a 56 percent increase over the $947 million available in 1999 for school technology initiatives.

The president’s request includes gains in almost every program area, plus two newly created funding opportunities. The Middle School Teacher Training initiaive would give $30 million in grants to middle schools in states that agree to establish technology literacy requirements in order to train “teacher technology leaders.”

The Software Development Initiative would give $5 million in competitive grants to encourage the development of high-quality educational software by partnerships of students, university faculty, and technology and content experts.

Issued Feb. 1, the president’s full budget proposal follows his Jan. 7 announcement that he would seek to triple funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. The FY 2000 budget requests $600 million for the after-school program, up from $200 million in 1999.

The president also slated significant funding increases for the Commerce Department’s Public Telecommunications Facilities Planning and Construction (PTFP) program over the next few years. While the FY 2000 request is $35 million–up from $21 million in 1999–the budget sets out prospective funding for 2001 at $110 million, 2002 at $100 million, and 2003 at $89 million.

PTFP supports the acquisition of digital transmission capabilities to ensure public broadcasters’ transition to digital broadcasting by 2003. The program also awards grants to consortia of school districts to support innovative distance learning projects.

A chart of the president’s complete school technology budget requests appears on page 7.