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A plan by House Republican leaders to trim funding across government agencies would have a "very real and damaging" impact on families, communities and the economy, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has told Committee on Appropriations Ranking Member Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.
DeLauro had requested in a January letter that agency leaders across the federal government analyze how a budget cap to FY 2022 enacted levels suggested by Republican leaders would impact agencies' activities.
"While representing but a small portion of overall education funding nationwide, Federal resources help States and school districts fill gaps in State and local support and meet critical needs for our most vulnerable students," Cardona wrote to DeLauro in a March 17 response.
GOP leaders have indicated a need to trim spending for the FY 2024 budget cycle but have not put forth an official proposal. Concerns about the nation's rising debt level are fueling Republican's concerns about increased spending.
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden released his administration's proposed FY 24 budget seeking to raise the Education Department's budget by $10.8 billion or 13.6% over FY 2023 allocations.
The budget debate will continue through the spring and summer. The federal government's new fiscal year starts Oct. 1. In the meantime, here's a look at how a budget reduction would affect Education Department services, according to Cardona, under two scenarios: a cut to FY 22 levels, or a 22% decrease from current FY 2023 levels:
By the numbers
The reduction in Title I grants to districts if the spending were reduced to FY 22 levels. The cut would equal a reduction of 13,000 teachers and service providers from classrooms serving low-income children.
If the Education Department's budget were cut by 22%, Title I schools would have 60,000 fewer teachers and related service providers. This cut of $4 billion would affect about 25 million students.
A spending cut of 22% would reduce state grants for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by $3.1 billion and equal about 48,000 fewer special educators.
A 22% cut to IDEA would lower the federal per-pupil support to its lowest share since 1997.
- $35 million
Reducing grants for supporting effective instruction and student support and academic enrichment to the FY 22 levels would cut more than $35 million from these programs.
The maximum Pell grant award would be reduced by $1,000 if current funding were reduced by 22%. That cut would decrease aid to all 6.6 million Pell recipients and eliminate Pell grants for about 80,000 students. A reduction to the FY 22 enacted level, however, would have a "minimal effect on students and parents."
The number of student loan borrowers who would be impacted by decreased service hours and longer turnaround times for changes to student loan repayment plans if funding for administering student financial aid fell to the FY 22 level.
The U.S. debt level as of March 20 at 4 p.m. EST, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury. The federal government's debt is the amount of money borrowed to cover the outstanding balance of expenses made over time.