Federal Education Funding: What do we know?

edmoneywatchJason Delisle and Clare McCann at Ed Money Watch have put together a very helpful breakdown of what all of the Congressional complications surrounding the budget mean for education.

We have shortened their summary into a few definitions of key terms to understand:

Continuing Resolution: As of now, the US budget is functioning under a continuing resolution, which Congress approved for the first half of fiscal year, up to March 27. The CR means that the budget stays at the same level as last year. The CR cannot be approved again beyond March 27.

Sequestration: One method Congress implemented to control spending is known as sequestration. This means that each element of domestic discretionary spending, which includes most aspects of education funding, would be cut independently by 8.2%. This number was reduced to 5.1% by the deal reached at the turn of the new year. This cut of 5.1% will take place on March 1, unless a new deal is reached.

Spending Caps: The second method Congress enacted to control spending is known as spending caps. These are caps on annual appropriations funding, which includes most aspects of education funding, which will be ongoing until 2021. What this means in effect is that “Congress cannot under current law appropriate funding for domestic discretionary programs – including education – above post-sequestration levels. In other words, after the sequester, the appropriations pie is shrunk under that new cap to a level that resembles the year 2008.”  There is the possibility, however, that Congress could shift funding for each domestic program such that education is not hurt because the Caps allow for funding shifts, provided that the total number is not over the previous sequestration levels.

In conclusion, there is always the chance for a new deal that averts many of these possibilities. At this stage, however, education stands to lose 5.1% of funding on March 1 and possibly a good bit more on March 27, unless that deal is reached.

For more information, please visit: http://edmoney.newamerica.net/blogposts/2013/why_march_27_maters_for_education_and_sequestration_doesnt-78514