Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Budget Plan Offers Help for Schools

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Budget Plan Offers Help for Schools

Article excerpt

There are multiple funding requests that would help local schools meet their many challenges in President Clinton's fiscal 2001 education budget, which calls for $4.5 billion in new budget authority for the Education Department's discretionary programs, a 12.6 percent increase over fiscal 2000 spending. However, the Administration failed to even request funding for Title VI grants which, among other things, helps local governments to meet special education needs.

The proposed increase, the largest percentage and dollar increase since the department was founded in 1979, includes expanded funding for after-school programs, renovation of crumbling buildings, aid to low-performing or "failing" schools and additional money to hire 100,000 teachers. Despite these record numbers, the President's budget provides no funds for Innovative Education Program Strategies State Grants, also known as Title VI block grants of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The purpose of Title VI grants is to support state and local efforts to accomplish national education goals and to provide a continuing source of innovation, and educational improvement, including support for library services and industrial media materials.

In addition, Title VI funds help state and local governments meet the special education needs of at-risk and high-cost students.

The budget calls for $44.7 billion in overall budget authority for the department in fiscal 2001, compared to $43.1 billion appropriated by Congress in fiscal 2000. The department is requesting $40.1 billion for discretionary programs, compared with $35.6 billion in fiscal 2000.

The budget also includes $1.3 billion to repair and renovate schools-including $1.1 billion to subsidize $6.5 billion in no-interest loans and $175 million in direct aid. The President's budget also calls for tax credits to subsidize tens of billions of dollars in low-interest bonds. …

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