This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Last year, President George W. Bush’s budget proposal for 2005-06 called for a one percent cut in federal spending on education – the first time in a decade a president proposed to cut spending on education. Congress restored most of the specific programs Bush targeted for elimination. But the final budget for the year stuck close to the $56 billion overall education spending figure proposed by the President.
This year, President Bush proposes to cut even more deeply into federal education spending. He has again called for the elimination of over 40 programs but this time wants to reduce expenditures by over $2 billion, or 3.8 percent.
Like last year, the plan is meeting strong resistance from Philadelphia education advocates and from some local members of Congress.
Among the education programs targeted for elimination by the President in 2006-07 are grants for vocational education, the GEAR UP college readiness program, education technology state grants, Arts in Education, the National Writing Project, and “Smaller-learning community” grants. A major new proposal in the Bush budget package is an expansion of programs supporting math and science education.
Funding for Title I, Head Start, and child care assistance remains flat in the President’s budget. Critics described the lack of an increase for inflation as a de facto budget cut.
An independent analysis of the President’s budget proposal by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) used administration documents to project the five-year impact of the proposed cuts and plans to cap discretionary spending. The Center found that the budget cuts would accelerate over time and would impact nearly every area of domestic spending. The projected reduction in K-12 education spending would reach 8.5 percent by 2011, CBPP figures show. Special education funding cuts would climb to 12 percent by 2011.
A statement on the budget released by Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth on February 23 urges members of Congress “to thoroughly debate and consider the long-term human and fiscal consequences the Bush budget would impose on Pennsylvania children and families.”
The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities analysis is available online at www.cbpp.org. Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth can be reached at 215-563-5848.