House committee targets education funding

To deal with the cuts imposed by sequestration, the House Appropriations Committee has chosen to target certain departments—including Education—instead of spreading the cuts across all agencies.

Republicans controlling the House of Representatives pressed ahead May 21 with a plan to slash spending on certain domestic programs—including education—far deeper than the cuts these departments already face under a painful round of automatic austerity.

Military Construction/Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, and the Pentagon would be spared under the plan approved by the House Appropriations Committee on a party-line vote, but total funding for education, health, and labor programs would absorb a cut of 18 percent below fiscal year 2013 levels adopted in March.

At issue are deep agency budget cuts required under sequestration, or the automatic, across-the-board reductions triggered when lawmakers were unable to agree on alternative ways to curb the deficit. This year, the cuts are being applied to domestic agencies and the Pentagon equally; the budget plan approved by the House on May 21 is for the 2014 budget year and restores cuts to the military while making cuts to domestic programs favored by Democrats—including education—even deeper.…Read More

School leaders brace for cuts as sequestration occurs

While all schools that receive federal funding will be affected, poor and disadvantaged students will be hit hardest.

School districts around the country are bracing for more than $2 billion in federal spending cuts that kicked in March 1 after lawmakers failed to reach a deficit-reduction deal.

School administrators say the cuts will result in fewer staff, larger class sizes, and the delay of ed-tech purchases, among other effects. The cuts come as school districts are trying to prepare for more rigorous assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards, and district leaders say the cuts will hinder these efforts.

While all schools that receive federal funding will be affected, poor and disadvantaged students will be hit hardest. The so-called sequestration cuts federal Title I spending on low-income students by $725 million, affecting 1.2 million students—which could put the jobs of about 10,000 teachers and aides at risk, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.…Read More

Three federal education policy updates

School funding cuts could be severe under sequestration.

As Congress nears a deadline to form a compromise and avoid sequestration, education stakeholders are hoping to avoid devastating school funding cuts that could put an end to some promising practices across the country.

A recent Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE) webinar explored where some federal education policies stand, what President Obama’s second term holds for teachers and students, and what could happen if sequestration occurs.

President Obama’s education reform plans…Read More

Bleak outlook for education spending under sequestration

Sequestration will trigger huge education spending cuts: across-the-board cuts of more than 8 percent to federal programs.

As schools face ever-increasing budget dilemmas, education stakeholders are desperately hoping to avoid sequestration, or across-the-board cuts, to domestic spending next year—cuts that could devastate education programs and affect many of the country’s neediest students, experts say.

To avoid a government shutdown in 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act, which increased the national debt ceiling in exchange for a major reduction to federal deficits. Congress set limits to federal spending for 10 years and created a “supercommittee” tasked with creating legislation to reduce the deficit.

The Budget Control Act stipulates that if $1.2 trillion in savings is not approved, across-the-board cuts will go into effect in January 2013.…Read More

What ‘sequestration’ could mean for school grant seeking in 2013

You might already know that the Budget Control Act of 2011 created a Joint Commission of Congress that is charged with identifying budgetary savings of at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. If a joint committee bill is not enacted by Jan. 15, 2013, an automatic spending reduction process will go in to place. Sequestration, or the cancellation of budgetary resources, will take effect on Jan. 2, 2013. Based on what I have read, I believe sequestration will have a dramatic impact on the grants field.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) already has stated that it expects fewer medical research grants, with approximately 700 fewer grant opportunities to be available in 2013. The National Science Foundation has stated up to 1,500 grant opportunities could be cut as a result of sequestration.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan presented testimony to the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Committee in July. He stated that sequestration would reduce spending on federal education programs by 7.8 percent. He said the following programs would be at risk:…Read More

Duncan: Cuts to education would ‘jeopardize’ nation’s ability to compete

Sequestration would “jeopardize our nation’s ability to develop and support an educated, skilled workforce that can compete in the global economy,” Duncan told a Senate panel. (Albert H. Teich/

Services would have to be slashed for more than 1.8 million disadvantaged students and thousands of teachers and aides would lose their jobs if automatic, across-the-board cuts to the federal budget kick in as a result of lawmakers’ failure to agree on deficit-reduction measures, Education Secretary Arne Duncan warned July 25.

He urged Congress to find an alternative deficit-reduction plan that won’t undermine the Education Department’s ability to serve students in high-poverty schools and improve schools with high dropout rates.

Duncan said the automatic cuts, referred to by many in Washington as sequestration, also would adversely affect financial aid programs for college students.…Read More