Competitive vs. Formula Grants Battle it out for 2012 Ed Spending
With the U.S. Department of Education receiving a minimal increase in allotted spending for 2012—$68.43 billion compared to 2011’s $68.35 billion—the House and Senate have begun debates as to how the money will be spent. The democrat-dominated Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill Sep. 21 that would provide stagnant funding for formula-based grants, including Title I, for the upcoming year.
“This bill was difficult to write,” says Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. “[The reduced funding in 2011] cut all the fat and went into the bone. In this bill, we got into the marrow.” On the contrary, the Republican- controlled House Appropriations Committee is proposing increased funding for formula grants, but no funding for the Obama Administration’s signature competitive grant programs including Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation Fund, School Improvement Grants and Promise Neighborhoods.
To date, neither the House nor the Senate committees have debated their measures further.