NAfME Omnibus Roundup

Update: The House passed the funding bill the evening of December 11, 2014, with a vote of 219-206. The Senate passed the bill with a vote of 56-40, with 4 abstaining. President Obama signed the bill on December 16, 2014. We are happy to report funding remains stable for the Arts in Education program, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. See how education and other programs were funded here.

On Tuesday evening, December 9, 2014, Congressional leadership released a $1.01 trillion spending bill to fund the federal government through September 2015. The “CRomnibus” would appropriate new funding for 11 out of 12 federal departments through the end of the next fiscal year, and includes a Congressional Resolution (an extension of FY 2014 funding without a new appropriation) for the Department of Homeland Security through March 2015.

The bill is expected to pass both houses but is unlikely to get through both chambers by the deadline of December 11, when current funding for the government is set to expire. The House will likely pass a very brief Congressional Resolution on December 11, as a stopgap measure, to provide a few more days for the House and Senate to pass the final omnibus.

Education Funding Details

Nearly all education program funding is held steady over FY 2014 levels, with a few small increases for major programs and larger increases for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Select increases include:

  • +$25 million for Title I funding;
  • +$255.6 million for the Fund for the Improvement of Education, including $250 million for Preschool Development Grants;
    • FIE also includes $25 million for Arts in Education, which is level funded from FY 2014;
  • +$25 million for IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) grants;
  • +$25 million for special education programs; and
  • +$75 million for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (included in the Department of Health and Human Services).

Notable decreases include:

  • The elimination of Race to the Top grants (-$250 million, offset by the +$250 million increase for Preschool Development Grants);
  • A reduction of -$300 million in Pell Grants;
  • Elimination of the Rural Schools Program (-$300 million,) which provides funds to schools in areas with national forest service lands;
  • -$21.6 million from Investing in Innovation (funded at $142 million in FY 2014); and
  • -$58.7 million from the Teacher Incentive Fund.

Related Items and Concerns

Besides immigration, other issues in the bill threaten to slow passage of the omnibus, including defense policy, tax extenders (including an extension of the teacher tax deduction; if passed, teachers could deduct up to $250 to offset personal expenses towards classroom supplies,) and a handful of special-interest provisions. Nonetheless, Congressional leadership from both parties has expressed optimism about reaching a final vote by Sunday.

The CRomnibus bill report and funding tables can be found here:

In other funding news, the Obama administration announced today that 18 states (out of 36 that applied) will receive funding totaling more than $226 million from the federal government’s Preschool Development Grant program, to build or expand pre-K programs. The Department of Education has estimated that these funds will serve an additional 33,000 children.

The Preschool Development Grants are part of over $1 billion in combined federal and private-sector funding announced at today’s White House Summit on Early Childhood Education. Today’s announcements included a total of $750 million in new federal funding impacting more than 63,000 children, and over $330 million in private-sector commitments to expand the reach and quality of these programs.

States that won development grants to build pre-K programs include:

  • Alabama, $17,500,000
  • Arizona, $20,000,000
  • Hawaii, $2,074,059
  • Montana, $10,000,000
  • Nevada, $6,405,860

States that won grants to expand their pre-K programs include:

  • Illinois, $20,000,000
  • Maryland, $15,000,000
  • Massachusetts, $15,000,000
  • New Jersey, $17,498,115
  • Rhode Island, $2,290,840
  • Vermont, $7,231,681
  • Arkansas, $14,993,000
  • Connecticut, $12,499,000
  • Louisiana, $2,437,982
  • Maine, $3,497,319
  • New York, $24,991,372
  • Tennessee, $17,500,000

The authorizing legislation for these grants focuses on increasing the numbers of low-income and disadvantaged children who are enrolled in high-quality early learning programs, integrating state early learning systems, and formulating appropriate program assessments as required. It neither recommends nor prohibits specific curricula, including music and the arts. It appears possible that these funds may be used for early-learning programs that include music education, but curricula decisions would likely be made as part of a larger process of ensuring adherence to grant requirements, as funds trickle down to local providers.

For more information, see the Department of Education’s Preschool Development Fact Sheet and their Early Learning webpage.

A PDF of this summary is available here. Please sign and share the petition asking Congress to fund promised education programs.

Shannon Kelly, Director of Advocacy, December 11, 2014. © National Association for Music Education (