By Alyson Klein | Ed Week
February 12, 2011
House Republican leaders put out a bill last night that would slice and dice education funding far below current levels and far below what President Barack Obama wanted in his never-enacted fiscal year 2011 budget request. (List of cuts is here.)
The measure, which would continue federal funding for rest of the fiscal year, takes aim at some programs that were previously considered untouchable, including special education spending and Pell Grants to help low-and-moderate income students pay for college. Overall it would cut $4.9 billion from the U.S. Department of Education's fiscal year 2010 budget of $63.7 billion.
"This absolutely would be the largest cuts ever in history for education programs," said Joel Packer, a principal with the Raben Group in Washington, who works with the Committee for Education Funding, a coalition that advocates for increasing education spending.
The bill would cover fiscal year 2011, which technically started back on Oct. 1. Most of the federal government, including the Education Department, has been funded at fiscal year 2010 levels through a series of stop-gap measures, the latest of which expires on March 4.
It's tough to imagine the administration swallowing these cuts. And it's unlikely they'll get through the Senate, which is still controlled by Democrats.