Urging Congress to Keep its Commitment and Complete this Year's Education Budget
Today, in his weekly radio address, President Clinton will call on the returning Congress to finish the nation's work it has left undone for over two months. The President's remarks will focus on the bipartisan education agreement reached in November as one example of crucial work that Congress cannot ignore. The President will urge the Republican leadership to pass the bipartisan agreement that would increase federal support for improving education by nearly $8 billion, and to further bipartisan cooperation by passing school modernization tax legislation that has the support of 231 members of the House of Representatives, a bipartisan majority. He will also release an analysis by the U.S. Department of Education that illustrates the amount of federal education funding each state stands to lose if Congress backtracks on the budget consensus that had been negotiated before the election.
KEEPING OUR COMMITMENT TO STUDENTS. Shortly before Congress adjourned in November, a reasonable bipartisan agreement was reached – only to be abandoned at the last minute by the Republican leadership. If Congress fails to finish this crucial budget that is already months late, they will put at risk an historic increase in education investments at a time when the American public considers education one of its highest priorities. Backing away from the consensus budget plan and freezing funding at FY 2000 levels would jeopardize critical increases agreed to by budget negotiators on both sides, including:
- $1 Billion for Urgent Repairs. Turning back on the bipartisan agreement would eliminate the landmark emergency repair fund established to help school districts repair roofs, heating and cooling systems, and electrical wiring in thousands of schools.
- $547 Million for Expanded After-School Opportunities. Approximately 850,000 children and adults will not have access to extended learning opportunities in after-school centers if Congress does not pass the agreed upon budget plan which more than doubled investments in after school to $1 billion.
- $450 Million for Additional Class Size Reduction Teachers. Without this additional funding, school districts will be unable to hire approximately 12,000 new teachers to help reduce class sizes for nearly 650,000 students in the early grades. 1.7 million children across the country are already benefiting from smaller classes.
- $639 Million for Improving Basic Skills. Targeted Title I services aimed at helping disadvantaged students reach high standards will be withheld from over 900,000 students if the bipartisan agreement is not passed.
- $250 Million for Updating Teacher's Skills. Nearly 15,000 school districts will be shortchanged the desperately needed $250 million increase in Eisenhower Teacher Professional Development grants, which would help reduce the number of uncertified teachers and teachers not trained in the subjects they are teaching.
- $116 Million to Help Turn Around Failing Schools. Over 2,300 failing schools will not get extra resources to turn around low academic performance if Congress does not pass the agreed upon budget plan.
- $125 Million in GEAR UP College Preparation Increases. Without the $125 million increase in funding, approximately 600,000 low-income middle and high school students will be denied access to the tutoring, counseling and mentoring they need to prepare for college, and continuation grants could not be fully funded.
- $1 Billion in Head Start Increases. Approximately 70,000 fewer low-income children will be able to participate in early, comprehensive development and family services if Congress reneges on its commitment.
- $1.7 Billion in Special Education Increases. Without the increases in the consensus budget, States will not receive a $1.7 billion increase to assist in educating over 6 million children with disabilities.
- $1.4 Billion for Pell Grant Increases. The maximum Pell grant scholarship for needy students would not increase by $500, to $3800, denying increased aid to nearly 4 million low-income college students.
STATES COULD LOSE CRITICAL INCREASES FOR EDUCATION. The President will release a set of state-by-state analyses of the nearly $8 billion in education funding that would be lost if Congress does not act to pass the consensus budget. Among the five largest states, California could lose almost $715 million in additional education funds, Texas could lose more than $100 million in support for emergency school repairs, New York could lose more than $40 million for more after school and summer school programs, Florida could lose almost $20 million to hire additional high-quality teachers to reduce class sizes in the early grades, and Illinois could lose almost $70 million in additional support to educate students with disabilities.