Budget Information Reveals Significant Cuts to Public Education

Thursday, May 18, 2017

On Thursday afternoon, details of the Trump Administration's FY2018 budget surfaced and revealed the potential for significant budget cuts to public education. Details of the budget, which is reportedly close to being finalized, reveal potential gross cuts of $10.6 billion for the U.S. Department of Education for next year, with a net cut of $9.2 billion below the 2017 level. Specifically, in addition to the information included in the "Skinny Budget" released in March, the budget details include the following changes to K-12 education:

  • ESSA Title IV Student support and academic enrichment grants - eliminated $400 million
  • Funding for career and technical education - cut $196 million
  • Arts in education programs - eliminated $27 million
  • Funding for Native Hawaiian education - eliminated $33 million
  • Funding for Alaska Native education - eliminated $32 million
  • Promise neighborhoods - cut $13 million
  • Funding for gifted and talented programs - eliminated $12 million
  • Special Olympics education programs - eliminated $12 million

The plan reportedly seeks to spend about $400 million to expand charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools. Additionally, per the report, the Administration would devote $1 billion in Title I funding to a new grant program, the "Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success" (FOCUS) program, for school districts that agree to allow students to select which public school they attend - and take their federal, state and local dollars with them. Additionally, early reports indicate that the Administration proposes to invest $250 million on "Education Innovation and Research Grants," which would pay for expanding and studying the impacts of vouchers for private and religious schools. The Administration's proposed budget will likely be released next week.

NSBA recently submitted correspondence to Members of Congress regarding FY 2017 appropriations, and NSBA advocacy staff have communicated with congressional staff regarding upcoming FY 2018 budget negotiations and expressed concern over potential budget cuts and the elimination of programs. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is scheduled to appear on Capitol Hill next Wednesday for a hearing before the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. The budget hearing is scheduled for 11:00 am and will focus on funding to the U.S. Department of Education.

NSBA urges Members of Congress to maintain funding levels for important programs - and avoid the elimination of education programs. NSBA will continue advocacy efforts and keep you apprised of developments regarding FY2018 budget negotiations.