The White House announced this week that the President will be releasing his Fiscal Year 2021 Proposed Budget on February 10th, which will kickstart the FY2021 appropriations process. We anticipate that, as he has in each of the past three years, the President will ignore Congress’ firm support for Title II-A and zero out this program, which will provide more than $2.1 billion this year to states and school districts to support K-12 professional learning. Learning Forward and its members must be vigilant to prevent that elimination and build on the $76 million increase for Title II-A that we helped achieve last year. As Learning Forward President and CEO Denise Glyn Borders announced at our annual conference, we are commencing our efforts this year to achieve an annual increase in funding as part of professional learning budgets at every level. We will still continue to push for a much needed and larger increase for Title II-A.
Our Title II-A funding goals will be both easier and harder to achieve this year. They will be easier because Congress established overall spending caps for Fiscal Year 2021 funding in last year’s budget agreement. This means that we will not need to push for a new spending agreement this year. However, our goals may prove harder to achieve this year because – with Congress aiming to leave by October 2 or earlier to allow all House members and more than one-third of the Senate to leave to campaign for reelection – this year’s appropriations process will be shorter and action-packed. Within two months of the President releasing his proposed budget, we expect hearings on the budget and before the 4th of July we may well know how much the House and Senate Appropriations Committees propose to spend on education generally and Title II-A specifically.
So, we will need to push for Title II-A funding harder and earlier than we have in year’s past. Stay tuned for bulletins from Learning Forward on federal funding developments and for requests for you to weigh-in with your US Representatives and Senators. Buckle up, this process is going to move fast.