On July 30, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education appropriations bill that would provide $63.5 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Education. That total represents an increase of $800 million compared to FY 2009, but is slightly lower than the $64.2 billion that the House version of the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations would provide.
“This legislation is about looking to the future—a future where all kids have a chance for a good education and a chance to attend a safe and modern school, where all Americans have a chance for a chance to develop the skills to get a good job and where the most vulnerable Americans have access to the help they need,” said Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), the chairman of the Senate Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee.
Like its counterpart in the House of Representatives, the Senate Appropriations Committee chose not to fund President Obama’s request to shift $1.5 billion from Title I to fund a $1 billion increase in the School Improvement Grants and provide $500 million in Early Childhood Grants. However, unlike the House Appropriations Committee, which restored the entire $1.5 billion to Title I, the Senate Appropriations Committee reserved $700 million to repair and build new schools, something that Senator Harkin said would “create jobs and help kids learn.” As a result, the Senate bill would provide $13.8 billion for Title I, compared to $14.5 in the House version.
For the Striving Readers program, which focuses on improving the literacy skills of adolescent students who read below grade level, the Senate Appropriations Committee would provide $262.9 million, an increase of $227.5 million over FY 2009 and $117 million more than the House version.1 Similar to the House version, the Senate bill also includes $50 million for a High School Graduation Initiative requested by the president.
The Senate bill would provide $300 million for the Teacher Incentive Fund, which would go to states and school districts that want to reward effective teachers and schools for boosting student achievement. The committee considered an amendment by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) that would have boosted funding to $400 million, but ultimately rejected it. The House version would provide $446 million for the program.
For TRIO, the Senate would provide $848 million. GEAR UP would receive $313 million. Both of those totals are slightly less than the amount the House bill would provide. Statewide Data Systems would receive $65 million in the Senate bill, which is the same amount that was included in the House bill and requested by the president in his budget.
To review proposed funding levels for education programs that benefit middle and high schools for FY 2009 and FY 2010, consult the chart athttps://all4ed.org/files/Fiscal10ProgramChart.pdf.
1) The bill reported out of the Senate Appropriations Committee would devote $262.9 million to a revamped Striving Readers program, which would take a comprehensive approach to literacy, serve children from birth through grade 12, and subsume the mission of the Early Reading First program, which the bill eliminates. This funding level is an increase of $115 million over the combined FY 2009 enacted level for Early Reading First and Striving Readers.