First, the good news: the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bill boosting education funding for 2013.
The past two budget cycles have led to $1.2 billion in cuts to K-12 and higher education. But this new appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2013, passed in a party line vote of 16-14, provides a modest overall increase from FY 2012 funding levels, including a $100 million increase for both Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) and Title I. NAESP applauds the Senate’s proposed FY 2013 education budget, which prioritizes investments in education.
But, there’s bad news: education funding isn’t safe yet. A subcommittee in the House is expected to markup the funding bill soon. The House has allocated $7.7 billion less for this bill than the Senate, so it remains unclear how this will impact education funding.
Plus, across-the-board cuts, a result of the 2011 Budget Control Act, are still scheduled to take effect in January of 2013. NAESP encourages elementary principals to reach out to your members of Congress and ask that they support the increased investments in education funding, and work to find a balanced approach to reduce the impact of the looming across-the-board budget cuts.
Other details about the funding bill:
- Head Start funding was increased by $70 million.
- Race to the Top received level funding compared to FY2012, with a significant portion of this funding directed to early learning programs.
- An effort to boost funding for a voucher program, D.C. Opportunity Scholarships, was defeated.
- Turns out the definition of a "highly qualified" teacher will not be expanded to include individuals in alternative certification programs that have not completed the program yet.