Significant Increases Proposed for Early Childhood Education

Senate Appropriations Bill Moves Forward:

Significant Increases Proposed for Early Childhood Education

Yesterday, July 9th, 2013, the Senate Subcommittee on Labor/Health and Human Services/Education Appropriations marked up the funding bill for fiscal year 2014 (starting October 1, 2013), and tomorrow the Full Committee is expected to take up the bill without significant changes.

Early learning was a clear priority in the bill provided by chairman Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). In addition to meeting the funding request for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships and Preschool Development Grants in the President’s proposed early learning plan, the bill would also provide an increase in child care and Head Start, Title I grants to local school districts, and special education and early intervention.

It is important to remember that the Senate leadership is using a baseline for spending that assumes elimination of the sequestration will happen. The House is expected to produce a very different bill, and then the two bodies would need to come to a resolution on a single set of numbers before October 1.

What the Subcommittee Approved

The Subcommittee was given $164.3 billion in discretionary funding. Here is an overview of some of the program-by-program funding proposed (increases are over fiscal year 2013 levels unless otherwise noted):

  • Head Start/Early Head Start: $9.6 billion (a $1.6 billion increase), including:
    • $1.4 billion increase for Early Head Start, incorporating the new Early Head Start-Child Care partnerships proposed in the President’s early learning plan.
    • $171 million increase for existing Head Start programs, including $146 million for cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) and $25 million for the re-competition costs.
  • Child Care & Development Block Grant: $2.5 billion (a $176 million increase), including a $110 million increase for new quality improvement grants available to each state and a $66 million increase for access.
  • Pre-K Development Grants: $750 for preschool development grants (reflecting the President’s proposed Preschool for All plan) to support states’ efforts to expand/create high-quality preschool systems for 4-year-olds. (The President’s large state-federal preschool partnership of $75 billion over 10 years would be funded by mandatory money, so it is not part of the Appropriations bill.)
  • Title I Grants: $14.6 billion (a $125 million increase) for grants to local school districts for improving education for low-income students.
  • IDEA Special Education:
    • Part B: $11.7 billion (a $125 million increase) under section 611 of Part B Grants to States for educating students with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21.
    • Part C: $463 million (a $21 million increase) to support statewide systems of coordinated and early intervention services for children with disabilities 2 years old and younger, as well as their families.
  • Promise Neighborhoods: $100 million (a $40 million increase) to help low-income communities invest in a range of services to help children and families.

What Happens Next

The Senate bill will move forward to a Full Committee markup on Thursday, July 11th, and it is unclear if it will go to the floor before the August recess or in September.

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