March 21, 2008
*Federal Budget Resolution Shows Positive Steps for Early Childhood Education
*New NIEER Report on State-funded Prekindergarten
FEDERAL BUDGET RESOLUTIONS MOVE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Many thanks to everyone for your March 4th calls, visits, and emails to Congress on the federal budget. Last week, both the full House and Senate passed their respective Budget Resolutions, the overall blueprint for federal spending for fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2008 - September 30, 2009). Both versions signal greater commitment to domestic discretionary spending, with some important specific mentions of early childhood and other education programs.
The Senate Budget Resolution increases discretionary spending $18 billion above the President’s request. It also specifically calls for an increase of $406 million over current discretionary funding levels for the Child Care & Development Block Grant and an increase of $5.4 billion above the President’s request for the Department of Education, noting the need to increase investments for Head Start, IDEA, No Child Left Behind, and higher education.
The House Budget Resolution provides $22 billion more than President Bush requested for FY09 for domestic discretionary funding. The resolution provides for $85.3 billion in discretionary funding for education, training, employment and social services. Among the programs falling in this broad category are early care and education programs, specifically noting IDEA and Head Start for increases.
Both the House and Senate resolutions allow for deficit-neutral reserve funds provided they reserve funds are offset by reduced spending in other areas or revenue increases. There would be a reserve fund of $50 billion for expanding SCHIP and an unspecified amount for higher education, including certain education related tax credits and deductions.
The House and Senate now go into “conference” of the differences of their bill to create a single Budget Resolution by mid-April. Even though the President does not sign the Budget Resolution, it is an important marker of Congress’ intent on federal investments and priorities as they move to the appropriations process.
NEW NIEER REPORT ON STATE-FUNDED PREKINDERGARTEN
Yesterday NIEER released its fifth annual State Preschool Yearbook This latest Yearbook presents data on state-funded prekindergarten during the 2006-2007 school year. The report gives national trend information as well as state-by-state profiles on issues of access, quality, and resources. The report, with the state-by-state profiles and tables, is available here.