Story Contributed by Christopher Murphy, Ed.D.
House and Senate appropriators reached agreement on a conference report for the Labor-Health & Human Services-Education (LHHSE) appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2019. The federal government is poised to provide $440 million for the federal Charter School Program (CSP). This is a substantial increase and marks the highest-ever funding level in the programs’ more than 20-year history.
The CSP supports the creation of new public charter schools and the replication of charter schools that produce positive results for students. These funds will help alleviate some of the financial burdens leaders face when starting a charter school, thus allowing schools to provide high-quality educational opportunities to more students across the nation.
The Federal Education Department has been funded through a series of resolutions and funding measures that appropriate money for several departments simultaneously. Education Department programs would receive roughly $49 billion from the appropriations bill which overall provides $70.9 billion for the LHHSE department. Some of these appropriations for the 2019 Fiscal Year feed intro programs for students at-risk as well as school safety initiatives.
Rather than cutting program funding, lawmakers increased funding levels for many programs. After school programming received an increase in $10 million to $1.2 billion. Special Olympics will receive an increase of $2 million to $18 billion.
Lawmakers ignored initial requests by the Trump Administration in its fiscal 2018 budget proposal to eliminate or cut funding for long-standing grants. The proposal would have impacted Title II grants which supported teacher training and salaries, after-school programs and programs for Native Hawaiian and Alaskan students. Lawmakers also ignored Secretary Devos’s request for a $1 billion voucher program to support private tuition-based schools. Congressional debates around this request have long centered on concerns related to civil rights protections for students with disabilities and LGBT students.
Overall funding appropriations are a win for the charter public school community. Concept Schools applauds lawmakers and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools for their ongoing commitment to supporting the education of our youth.
For more information about these changes in federal charter school funding, check out this article by the 74.