President Trump signs into law a $1.1 trillion spending bill that will fund government programs through the rest of the fiscal year, avoiding the draconian reductions that he had originally sought for programs for children, youth and the poor. The bill passed by Congress rejected the drastic, last-minute cuts to domestic programs Trump asked for and also left out most ideological policy riders that had been sought by right wing members. It will fund the government programs through Sept. 30. In general, Democrats declared victory over the spending bill because it dodged the budget axe and stonewalled Trump priorities, like constructing a U.S.-Mexico border wall. The bill provides $68.2 billion in discretionary funding for the Education Dept., a $182 million increase above the comparable FY 2016 level. For DoEd's Title I Grants, the budget sets aside $15.5 billion, a $550 million increase above FY 2016, including $450 million from the consolidation of the out-of-favor School Improvement Grants program. This funding level is $447 million more than the level included in Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for FY 2016, and will help states in the first full year of implementation as responsibility and accountability for schools are returned to states and school districts. Title I provides basic and flexible funding to low-income school districts and allows states, local school districts, and schools to decide how to best use limited resources to improve student outcomes. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) program got a slight bump of $90 million to $12 billion for grants to states under part B of the IDEA. This is the main funding stream to support special education services for children with disabilities. The bill also makes a winner out of the Impact Aid program, funding it at $1.33 billion, an increase of $23 million above FY 2016. Impact Aid provides flexible support to local school districts impacted by the presence of federally-owned land and activities, such as military bases. The bill provides $400 million for a new formula block grant, Title IV Student Support and Academic Enr [...]
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5/19/17 02:12 AM