President Biden Announces Skinny Budget
Last week, President Biden released his “skinny budget,” a document that provides the general information about the Biden administration’s budget request to Congress for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. The request is termed a “skinny” budget because, apart from some of the larger funded programs that have specified requests, the document only includes toplines of federal funding. This means that we know what funding levels the administration would like to see for various federal agencies, such as the Department of Education (USED), but are still waiting for more information about what funding levels the administration would like to see for specific programs. This budget requests historic increases in funding for USED by asking for $29.8 billion (41 percent) more than appropriated last year.
From information provided so far, we can see that two-thirds of the education funding increase is dedicated to Title I-A, with a $20 billion increase that is more than double last year’s appropriation. President Biden campaigned on a pledge to triple Title I-A funding, and his budget requests more than two-thirds of that increase to be enacted during his first year in office.
$15.5 billion has been requested for Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Part B of IDEA provides federal funding to states and local school districts. This would be a $2.6 billion increase (20 percent), which would still leave the program well below full funding by $39 billion. NAfME advocates for full funding of IDEA.
What About Title IV-A
The President is expected to submit a full budget to Congress in the coming weeks. NAfME will be looking closely at the requested funding level for Title IV-A, which provides block grant funding to support activities in three broad areas, including support for a well-rounded education. Title IV-A is being funded at $1.22 billion for FY 2021, still nearly $400 million under its authorized amount of $1.6 billion in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
There is optimism among education advocates that Title IV-A may reach or even exceed its authorized amount for FY 2022. The Budget Control Act, which prescribed federal spending caps for the last 10 years to reduce the national deficit, has expired and there are no limits on federal spending for FY 2022. Also, ESSA has technically expired so sticking to the authorized amount may not be as important to lawmakers. For these reasons, the Title IV-A Coalition, of which NAfME is a founding member, will advocate for a $2 billion Title IV-A appropriation for FY 2022. This funding has already received some bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, and NAfME and the Title IV-A Coalition will begin meeting with members of Congress as we move into appropriations season. Stay tuned for advocacy campaigns in the coming months to support this important program. We need your help!
NAfME Public Policy Staff, April 22, 2021. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)