November 13, 2023
No, we’re NOT making this up. We are once again applying pressure on Congress to complete their funding work for federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24), federal dollars that will be in your schools for the 2024-25 school year.
In the latest iteration of ‘will they or won’t they’, we once again find ourselves with a Congress that is unable to reliably complete its only constitutionally required task: funding the government.
Federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) runs October 1, 2023, through September 30, 2024, and represents—largely –federal dollars that will be in schools for the 2024-25 school year. We were here just a month ago, at the end of September. Congress came amazingly close to a shutdown before adopting a six-week continuing resolution, which expires on November 14. This means Congress has less than two weeks to make a series of critical decisions related to federal funding.
As we have written about in the past, the two congressional chambers—House and Senate—are in very different places in terms of overall process and overall funding levels when it comes to FY24. Generally speaking, House Democrats are aligned with the Senate and White House in avoiding a shutdown, while House Republicans work through internal politics about what can or should be done about funding levels, overall cuts, and myriad other policy proposals. Here's what YOU can do: Weigh in with your delegation. You are the stewards of education dollars in your district and your voice is the most valuable. We don’t have specific funding levels to recommend; the aim here is to create enough pressure/cover to give the House a path forward on some sort of funding bill and to avoid a shut down:
- AESA opposes a federal shutdown. Congress must reach agreement on at least a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to buy themselves more time.
- Any funding deal must maintain parity between defense and non-defense spending. There is a keen interest (particularly among some House Republicans) to adopt deep cuts to non-defense discretionary funding (which includes education). AESA opposes disproportionate cuts and urges Congress to use a scalpel as it determines where to cut funding.
- Negotiations for the final FY24 appropriations package should rely on the Senate-passed bills as the starting point. AESA rejects the proposal advanced by the House LHHS appropriations subcommittee (this proposal included an 80% cut to Title I).
- Education funding matters, and education cuts do not heal. It is imperative Congress act to avoid a shutdown and to ensure continued funding that supports critical programs, including Title I and IDEA.
- If there is a shutdown, the most immediate impacts will be felt by any LEA running a Head Start or Impact Aid program. If this is your district, make sure your delegation knows what it would mean to see that money stop: what programs would end, how many students would be disrupted, what would the spillover mean to your broader LEA?