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Bush budget: cuts in school funding planned

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

The Bush administration’s proposed federal budget will lead to reduced funding for Title I and special education, an examination by the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities has revealed.

A pair of federal budget analysts from the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities (CBPP) presented the figures at a town meeting on September 10 at the National Constitution Center. Sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Civic Values, the meeting was titled, "Federal Cutbacks and the City."

Martha Coven, of the Washington D.C.-based CBPP, explained that tax cuts and increased spending on defense were primarily responsible for a projected cumulative ten-year deficit totaling $3.7 trillion from 2002 to 2011. The Bush administration is responding with cuts in the areas of education and youth support, housing and community development, job training, welfare-to-work, health, AIDS programs, and drug treatment.

The center’s data indicate that funding for education and youth support will decrease 11.6 percent by 2009, after adjusting for inflation and population growth. The decrease reflects projected drops of 10.5 percent for Title I (the federal initiative that funds high-poverty schools), 13 percent for school improvement, and 8 percent for special education.

Several local and regional speakers cautioned against losing sight of the real-life significance of the budget cuts. The federal money Philadelphia receives is "community funding. to create jobs for people, to help get a better education in school," moderator Edward Schwartz reminded the town meeting audience. "When that federal money disappears, city money doesn’t replace it."

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