By Andrew Ujifusa
Lawmakers in charge of the U.S. Department of Education’s budget voted Wednesday to advance a funding bill that cuts $2.4 billion from the agency’s budget, with most of that reduction coming through the elimination of a major program focused on teachers.
The GOP-backed bill approved by the House appropriations committee on Wednesday by a 28-22 vote cuts the department’s budget to $66 billion. That’s a less-severe cut than the spending blueprint floated by President Donald Trump in May that includes a $9.2 billion reduction. House Republicans followed the Trump budget’s lead and cut the $2 billion Title II program that covers teacher training, as well as class-size reductions.
“We invest in programs that ensure that all students have access to a quality education,” said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., the chairman of the House appropriations committee. The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.
Source: Bill With More Than $2 Billion in Teacher-Training Cuts Advances in House – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Mikhail Zinshteyn
Programs run by the U.S. Department of Education, which distributes funding for numerous programs to all states, would be cut by $9 billion under the Trump administration’s proposed federal budget for the fiscal year beginning in October.
California’s K-12 federal allocation would shrink from the 2016-17 level of approximately $4 billion to $3.64 billion in 2017-18.
Presidential budgets typically serve as wish lists, and it is far from clear what parts of the document released Tuesday will be enacted by Congress. But the document provides important insights into President Donald Trump’s education agenda, and where his priorities lie.
Source: California would lose $400 million in federal K-12 education funding under Trump budget | EdSource
By Richard Bammer
Tom Torlakson, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, Tuesday urged Congress to reject President Trump’s federal education budget proposal, which includes cuts that he described as “deep” to teacher training, after school programs, mental health services, advanced coursework, among others.
“I give this budget an ‘F’ grade for failing public school students in California and across the nation,” Torlakson, who leads the country’s largest public school system with more than 6.2 million students, said in a press release. “We need to invest more in our public schools, not slash away at programs that help students succeed.”
A former East Bay high school science teacher and athletics coach, he noted that the proposed federal education budget heads in a completely different direction than the California approach to education funding.
Source: State school leader gives fed ed budget proposal a failing grade
By Anya Kamenetz
It’s graduation season. That means commencement addresses lead off our weekly education news roundup. Last week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faced boos at Bethune-Cookman University. This week, President Trump received a warmer welcome when he addressed cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Far from a conventional graduation speech, Trump talked about his rough week in Washington and how he keeps going in spite of his critics.
“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly. You can’t let them get you down. You can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams,” he told the graduates.
Source: Trump Gives Commencement Address; Leaked Education Budget Has Big Cuts : NPR Ed : NPR
By Michael Collier
As Congress struck a $1.1 trillion-dollar budget deal earlier this month to fund the federal government through the rest of the 2016-17 fiscal year and avoid a government shutdown of federal agencies, education leaders in California are relieved that the state will continue to receive federal support for teacher preparation programs.
But support for these programs in the coming fiscal year, beginning on Oct. 1, is still in doubt.
The Trump Administration had proposed to cut federal funding through Title II Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act by half – by $1.2 billion – for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and to eliminate the program altogether after that. However, the budget bill approved by Congress cuts the program’s funding by only $249 million for the current fiscal year, according to Education Week, to about $2 billion.
Source: Federal support for teacher training to continue, but next year’s funding in doubt | EdSource
By Sophia Alvarez Boyd and Anya Kamenetz
National K-12 and higher ed news came fast and furious this week. Here are our highlights to help you keep on top.
The president’s “skinny budget” has cuts for education
The biggest story of our week happened early Thursday morning when President Trump released his budget outline, historically known as a “skinny budget” because it has few details.
The U.S. Department of Education came in for a $9 billion, or 13.5 percent, cut.
During Trump’s campaign, he promised $20 billion for school choice. His 2018 budget is the first small step in that direction, increasing charter school funding by two-thirds, funding an unspecified new “private school choice program,” and adding another $1 billion for Title I, which helps fund high-poverty schools. That Title I money would be earmarked to “encourage” school choice.
Source: FAFSA, Pell Grants And Charters, Oh My! : NPR Ed : NPR
By Richard Bammer
State schools chief Tom Torlakson said President Donald Trump’s proposed $1.1 trillion 2018 budget was very disappointing and goes in the wrong direction with funding cuts that would hurt disadvantaged children, after-school programs, teacher training, and other services, but sets aside $250 million for a nationwide voucher program.
In a press release issued Friday, he said the cuts, should they go into effect, would hobble programs that help prepare California 6.2 million public school students for jobs in the increasingly technological, 21st-century global economy.
Trump’s planned budget would take hundreds of millions of dollars from California by eliminating federal funds for programs that have proven successful in educating at-risk students, especially those from low-income backgrounds. It also reduces financial assistance to low-income college students.
Source: State schools chief vows to battle Trump over cuts
By Ryan McCarthy
Increased pension contributions school districts throughout California face spurred a two-word description by Fairfield-Suisun School District officials as they prepare the 2017-18 budget and consider more than $7 million in budget cuts.
“Pretty grim,” is how Michelle Henson, assistant superintendent of business services, described the situation.
Judi Honeychurch, president of the board of trustees, at the Thursday school board meeting agreed with the assessment.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun schools face more than $7M in cuts
By Lauren Camera
The U.S. Department of Education went on the offense Monday to protect federal education programs ahead of looming spending battles in Congress to stave of a government shutdown prior to the end of the fiscal year, Oct. 1.
Specifically, the department took aim at the appropriations bills that passed through the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives that would slash funding for federal education programs by $1.7 billion and $2.8 billion, respectively.
Those bills, which passed through appropriations committee this summer, have not been voted on by the full chambers.
In a press release, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan blasted the Republicans decision to slash the administrations Preschool Development Grant program, arguing it would pull funds away from states in the last two years of the grant.
via As Budget Battle Looms, Education Department Warns Against Early Ed Cuts – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Richard Bammer
Budget priorities for Fairfield-Suisun Unified’s 2015-16 budget “have already been set,” and they do not include a full restoration of the district’s elementary music program, said Superintendent Kris Corey.
“Our financial picture hasn’t changed” since district leaders unveiled from the January budget proposal of well more than $160 million for the coming year, she said.
Her remarks came one day after students, parents and some community members from Music For Our Children rallied outside the district’s central offices on Hilborn Road, about 30 minutes before a governing board meeting.
They also came about six weeks after the board considered $2 million in budget increases for, among other things, a full-time assistant principal at Armijo High; nearly four full-time career tech education teachers; and technology replacement, the latter item by far the biggest outlay, at $500,000.
via FSUSD board unlikely to fund elementary school music.
By Alyson Klein
So if you were hoping to wake up to a deal that ends the government shutdown and raises the debt ceiling, you were sorely disappointed. Talks continue today. And, education advocates are worried that if the feds don’t deal with sequestration (those five percent, across-the-board cuts) this fall, the window may be closed for a long time (story here).
A recent proposal by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, would keep the sequestration cuts in place for another six months, but would give agencies flexibility to decide where to make the reductions. Although the Collins proposal has run into trouble, particularly among Democrats who are upset about the fact that it would lock the cuts in place for another six months, the idea could pop up again as talks remain fluid.
via Should Arne Duncan Decide How to Distribute the Sequester Cuts? – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Alyson Klein
Congress is back in town this week, but education legislation is likely to remain on the back burner in both chambers for the next month—and maybe even for the rest of the year. One major reason? Syria. Another big reason? The budget.
Lawmakers still need to figure out the spending bills for fiscal year 2014, including the bill that finances the U.S. Department of Education and other programs important for children (such as Head Start).
via What’s Next For Education in Congress – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Mike Corpos
FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield-Suisun school board agreed on four main budget priorities Thursday for the 2013-14 school year, with a boost in employee compensation topping the list.
The decisions came after an extensive discussion during a budget workshop.
As each board member listed his or her priorities. Four topics rose to the top of the list. The board handed them off to the district administration to research and come back with dollar figures attached.
via Fairfield-Suisun school board sets budget priorities Daily Republic.
By John Fensterwald
With the passage of Proposition 30 and implementation of a new funding system channeling more money to most districts this fall, the 2012-13 school year will be the base for measuring how well schools recover from the Great Recession. Yet as EdSource documents in a report issued Thursday, there will be a steep climb out of the trough.
In “Recovering from the Recession: Pressures Ease on California’s Largest Districts, but Stresses Remain,” EdSource found signs that budgets were stabilizing and districts were regaining some ground after five years of damaging budget cuts. But there were also areas of further concern, such as a decline in the number of counselors in schools and a rise in rates of childhood poverty – evidence that districts continued to struggle, as measured by some key indices.
via Schools rising from budget depths, EdSource report finds | EdSource Today.
As expected, Travis Unified School District will feel a budgetary pinch between now and September as the U.S. Department of Education sets into motion some $60 million in automatic spending cuts for school districts near military bases and other federal lands.
The 5,000-student district will see a roughly 5 percent cut, or about $150,000, in its annual impact aid of nearly $3 million.
via Travis Unified School District bracing for cuts.
Student enrollment rates in California’s community colleges have dropped to a 20-year low in the wake of unprecedented cuts in state funding. Colleges have reduced staff, cut courses, and increased class sizes—all of which have led to declines in student access.
This research was supported with funding from the Donald Bren Foundation, the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, and The James Irvine Foundation.
via PUBLICATION: The Impact of Budget Cuts on California’s Community Colleges.
Continuous budget cuts have taken their toll on community colleges, resulting in a 20-year low in student enrollment, according to a new Public Policy Institute of California report.
Since the so-called Great Recession began in 2007, California’s community college system has sustained $1.5 billion in cuts, which has resulted in reductions in faculty and course offerings, according to the report, “The Impact of Budget Cuts on California’s Community Colleges.”
via Community college enrollment falling in California.
By John Fensterwald
Even though there are more potential students who should be served by community colleges, “funding shortfalls throughout the community college system have led to significant reductions in staff, considerably fewer course offerings, and severely restricted enrollment,” write the researchers of “Impact of Budget Cuts on the California Community Colleges,” which was released on Monday.
A decline of 24 percent in per-student funding over five years has led to a record decline in access to community colleges and has jeopardized the services to those students who are enrolled, an extensive study by the Public Policy Institute of California concluded.
via Budget cuts create unprecedented stress on community colleges – by John Fensterwald.
Donna Lass, Vallejo
This is the time of year when cities and counties start looking for ways to balance their budgets. Our Vallejo City Unified School District is no different. The very subject of “budget cuts” brings fear into the hearts of employees of every government entity, as well as the citizens who avail themselves of the services offered.
Sadly, some of the cuts considered include programs currently offered at the Vallejo Adult School. Most of the programs being targeted are those of particular interest to our senior citizens, such as the Stars Program, a two-day-a-week program offering day care for seniors with dementia and ambulatory disabilities. This is a much-needed program to help seniors with disabilities, as well as a means to offer respite for their caretakers (usually spouses of the participants who are themselves senior citizens).
via Save senior programs.
So now that school districts are coping with a 5 percent across-the-board cut to all federal programs, thanks to sequestration, many advocates are asking the department for what they see as the next best thing to more money: Greater flexibility with the funds they actually have.
For instance, advocates are wondering how the cuts will affect maintenance of effort, which requires states and districts to keep their own spending up at a certain level in order to tap federal funds. Do they get a break because they’re getting less Title I and special education money?
via Will Funding Flexibility for Schools Come With Sequestration Cuts?.