What Does the Debt Limit Resolution Mean for Education?

Education funding underwent several cuts before Congress agreed on a FY2011 plan. Now, the debt limit resolution appears it will further impact federal education dollars. Not only will FY2012 appropriations be about $7 billion below current levels, Congress must find $1.5 trillion in cuts this year. While President Obama has been vocal about supporting and protecting education, so far no specifics have been given about funding for any individual program.

“We don’t know how this is going to shake out more specifically for K-12 because all Congress has done so far is set spending caps–or, how big the budget pie is,” wrote Michele McNeil for Politics K-12, an Education Week blog. “In essence, the pie has gotten smaller for next budget year, leaving fewer dollars to be spread among agencies, including the Education Department. And a decade’s worth of spending caps is bound to put pressure on federal education spending.”

The second round of funding cuts is especially worrisome to many education analysts and organizations. A special joint Congressional committee must make recommendations by November 23 with a Congressional up-or-down vote without amendments by Dec. 23. If Congress can’t agree on cuts, then there will be mandatory across-the-board spending cuts matching the size of the debt ceiling increase. With states already closing schools and laying off teachers more federal funding cuts could hinder school reform efforts.

More information

“Debt Ceiling Deal: Big Questions for K-12”
Politics K-12, Education Week blog

“House approves debt ceiling bill”

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August 2011


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