House Rejects Federal Education Spending Cuts

WASHINGTON, On Nov. 17, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education conference report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 by a vote of 209-224, with 22 Republicans and all Democrats voting against the bill. The spending bill would have decreased overall federal education funding by approximately 4.1 percent for FY 2006.

According to the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the House and Senate had previously passed their respective appropriations bills and had worked through a conference committee to address the differences in the legislation. The conference report voted on by the House was set to eliminate the Comprehensive School Reform Program, significantly cut other programs of vital importance to middle level and high schools and give limited increases to Title I and IDEA.

NASSP members and other education advocates from across the country are credited with having motivated moderate Republicans and all Democrats to vote against the spending bill.

The House and Senate must now go back to the drawing board to try to renegotiate a new conference agreement. In the meantime, they have passed a continuing resolution, which will continue funding education programs at FY 2005 levels until an agreement can be reached on the appropriations’ bill.

Both the House and Senate individual bills significantly cut education funding. The Senate bill eliminates the Smaller Learning Communities and Comprehensive School Reform programs. The House significantly cuts Comprehensive School Reform and eliminates Dropout Prevention. Other large programs, such as Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), received limited increases of $100 million each. In recent years, these programs have received increases of up to $1 billion each.

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