Budget for 2014 is a mixed bag for schools

Early education sees more money, and sequestration cuts are rolled back—but many programs are still funded below 2012 budget levels

Title I grants for disadvantaged students will receive $14.4 billion, and IDEA will get $11.5 billion.

Congress has passed a federal budget for the 2014 fiscal year that includes more money for early childhood education, a priority of President Obama.

The budget also restores most of the funding cut from education programs such as Title I and special education under sequestration last year. But the funding for these large formula-grant programs still falls short of 2012 levels.

Under the 2014 budget, Title I grants for disadvantaged students will receive $14.4 billion, and state grants under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) will get $11.5 billion.

In 2012, Title I received a high-water mark of $14.5 billion and IDEA got $11.6 billion. But last year, sequestration—the automatic, across-the-board reduction of more than 5 percent in funding to federal programs—brought these figures down to $13.8 billion and $11 billion, respectively.

The Head Start program, which lost 57,000 seats to sequestration, was a big winner in the 2014 budget, getting an increase of $1 billion, to nearly $8.6 billion. But Congress did not include $750 million in funding that President Obama had requested for states to expand preschool education to more students.

The Obama administration’s signature education program, Race to the Top, will continue with $250 million to support another round of early learning grants, which so far have been awarded to 20 states. But lawmakers turned down a request for $1 billion to fund a Race to the Top competition for higher education. Instead, they approved $75 million for a new “First in the World” fund to help colleges test new strategies to improve graduation rates.

(Next page: Changes to School Improvement Grants—and reaction to the budget from education groups)

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