Omnibus Appropriations Bill Cleared for President

On December 20, 2007, in Federal Funding, by Mary Kingston

After approving a Senate amendment to provide an additional $70 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the House gave final approval to the FY 2008 omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 2764) on December 19. President Bush has indicated he will likely sign the bill into law.

The omnibus measure consolidates the 11 remaining appropriations bills (including the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education bill) and contains approximately $144.8 billion in discretionary spending for LHHSE programs (about $5.6 billion less than the bill vetoed by Bush in November), with an overall funding level of about $933 billion, meeting Bush’s top line budget demands.

After a failed attempt to override Bush’s veto of the original LHHSE bill (H.R. 3043), Democrats realized that they would have to significantly reduce their proposed funding levels, and were forced to implement an across-the-board cut of over 1.7%, in addition to several program-specific cuts to meet Bush’s budget demands. See the table below for a summary of how key federal education programs fared:

Selected Education Programs (in millions) FY 2007
Enacted
President’s
FY 2008 Request
FY 2008 Enacted
Title I (Subtotal Grants  to LEA’s) $12,838.00 $13,909.90 $14,027.86
Improving Teacher Quality State Grants $2,887.40 $2,787.49 $2,960.32
Special Education - IDEA  (total) $11,802.90 $11,485.15 $12,088.44
Career-Technical Education State Grants $1,181.55 $600.00 $1,174.73
Striving Readers: High and Middle school program $31.87 $100.00 $35.37
School Improvement Grants $125.00 $500.00 $491.26
Math Now for Elementary and Middle Schools - $250.00 -
Comprehensive School    Reform $2.35 $0.00 $1.60
Mathematics & Science Partnerships $182.16 $182.12 $178.97
Javits Gifted and Talented Education $7.59 - $7.46
Rural Education $168.91 $168.85 $171.85
Teacher Incentive Fund $200.00 $199.00 $97.27
School Leadership $14.73 - $14.47
Advanced Placement Fees $37.02 $122.18 $43.54
Dropout Prevention - - -
Safe and Drug-Free Schools  and Communities, state   grants $346.50 $100.00 $294.75
Elementary and Secondary School Counseling $34.65 - $48.62
Smaller Learning Communities $93.53 - $80.10

Throughout the appropriations process NASSP has fought hard to substantially increase education funding. While we are concerned that several programs received cuts and some increases did not keep pace with inflation, we are pleased that Congress was able to avoid passing another long-term continuing resolution, which would have held education programs at their FY 2007 levels.

We are hopeful that the picture for next year can be brighter and are already working to increase education funding for FY 2009.

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