Coalition Opposes President’s Plan to Pull the Plug on This $1.2 Billion Block Grant

Associate Editor

President Donald Trump’s 2020 proposed $64 billion education budget eliminates funding for the Title IV-A block grant, and a coalition of 35 organizations—many prominent in K-12 education—is fighting back.

Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, Title IV-A is a flexible grant designed to provide districts with funding that could support student health and safety programs, well-rounded education programs, and the effective use of ed tech. For fiscal 2019, Congress appropriated $1.17 billion to the program.

“The administration’s decision to zero out funding for this program—just as districts are utilizing the $1.1 billion Congress provided in FY18 and before the Department of Education has done any data collection on how states and districts are using these funds to support critical school and student needs—shows a complete lack of commitment to the success of the program,” wrote the Title IV-A Coalition in a letter dated March 11.

Districts can use the funds for a variety of needs, such as college and career counseling, STEM, music and arts, computer science, drug and violence prevention, professional development about the use of technology, blended and personalized learning, and devices.

Among the dues-paying members of the coalition that signed the letter are the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the National PTA, and the American School Counselor Association.

Originally authorized for $1.65 billion in funding when it was established under ESSA, only $400 million was appropriated in fiscal 2017. But the program received the $1.1 billion infusion from Congress for the next fiscal year.

Trump’s proposed education budget seeks a 10 percent cut across the board to the U.S. Education Department.

This is the third fiscal cycle in which Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have sought to cut the Education Department’s budget in many areas, my colleague Andrew Ujifusa wrote. However, those first two efforts were countered by Congress, which increased education spending incrementally for fiscal 2018 and 2019.

It remains to be seen how the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate will respond to the president’s education proposal, including Title IV-A.

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