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WHAT’S THE SCENARIO?: U.S. Department of Education Releases Additional Details on Fiscal Year 2012 Funding Levels

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education (the department) made available a table showing proposed funding levels in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 for all programs under its jurisdiction based on three scenarios: (1) President Obama’s budget request; (2) the Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education appropriations bill that passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on September 21; and (3) the draft Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill released by the House Appropriations Committee on September 29.

Whats the scenario photo

As shown in the box to the right, discretionary funding (excluding Pell Grants) for the department would increase under the president’s budget and the Senate plan and decline slightly under the House plan.

Among individual programs, funding for Title I would stay the same under the Senate plan but increase by $1 billion in the House plan. Funding for special education would essentially stay the same in the Senate plan and increase by $1.2 billion under the House plan. The Senate would provide $534.5 million for School Improvement Grants, which target the nation’s lowest-performing schools; $183 million for the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program; and $48.9 million for the High School Graduation Initiative. The House would eliminate funding for all three programs.

Because Congress has yet to enact final appropriations bills for the department, funding levels for education programs in FY 2012 remain up in the air. Currently, the department, as well as the rest of the federal government, is funded by a temporary mechanism called a continuing resolution (CR) that runs until November 18. Between now and November 18, Congress could roll several appropriation bills into separate “minibuses” as substitutes for a giant omnibus bill that would include all twelve appropriations bills. Alternatively, it could pass another continuing resoultion that will extend the November 18 CR deadline.

Proposed funding levels for all education programs based on the three scenarios listed above are available at


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