For the third year running, Congress waited until the eleventh hour to pass a funding measure to keep the government up and running. Just two days before the Sept. 30 deadline, Congress passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that keeps federal education funding on autopilot until Dec. 9. As a result, all education programs will continue at last year’s funding levels, with the exception of new programs authorized in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which did not exist last year. The new Student Support Academic and Enrichment Grants program (SSAEG, Title IV, Part A of ESSA), the flexible block grant that supports health and safety programs, well-rounded child academic programs and technology, is not funded through this CR. A final deal will include funding for all new ESSA programs, including Title IV, Part A, on which ISTE is leading the charge.
Congress’ delayed action on the CR stemmed from contention over additional emergency funding for Zika, the opioid abuse crisis, the Flint water pollution issue and flooding in Louisiana. Ultimately, Congress worked out funding for all of these issues – but it took Senate Democrats blocking approval of the bill for Congressional leaders to agree to provide $170 million in aid for victims of the Flint water crisis.
When Congress returns after the Nov. 8 election, it will only have a few weeks to pass a final spending bill for fiscal year 2017 before the CR expires Dec. 9.
We need YOU to keep the heat on Congress to approve SSAEG spending at the highest possible level. Please send this prewritten letter to Congress urging it to fully fund Title IV, Part A of ESSA.