Senate Panel OKs Tiny Hikes for Key K-12 Grants, $300 Million for ESSA Block Grant
School districts and states wouldn't see big increases to funding for special education, or Title I money for disadvantaged students under a spending bill approved Tuesday by the Senate panel that oversees education, labor, and health spending.
And, to the chagrin of many advocates, a new flexible spending fund created under the Every Student Succeeds Act—called the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program—would be slated to receive only $300 million, or a little more than the roughly $278 milllion the programs that make up the block grant (such as Advanced Placement and elementary and secondary school counseling) are getting currently.
In March, lawmakers gave U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr., grief when he testified on the budget request for the administration's $500 million ask for the new program, which is a lot less than the $1.6 billion authorized under ESSA. Advocacy groups sent letters to Congress complaining about the budget request. And obviously, $300 million is even less than the administration wanted.