Washington, D.C. – Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 spending bill. The bill includes $68.3 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Education, $29 million above the FY2017 level.
The bipartisan Senate Appropriations bill maintains funding for many critical education programs, including the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program (Title II, Part A), which provides over $2 billion in flexible funding to ninety-eight percent of school districts nationwide to strengthen teacher and school leader effectiveness. This critical funding stream includes the new, optional three percent set-aside for states in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for the development and support of principals and school leaders. This new opportunity allows states to focus resources on effective school leadership, which research confirms is key to improving student outcomes.
While the Senate funding bill rejects proposals from the Administration and the House of Representatives to eliminate the Title II, Part A program, New Leaders is extremely disappointed to see that the Senate bill calls for the elimination of the School Leader Recruitment and Support Program (SLRSP), the only federally authorized program focused exclusively on supporting evidence-based, locally-driven strategies to strengthen school leadership. The SLRSP was authorized and strengthened under ESSA with bipartisan support, underscoring Congress’s commitment to school leaders across the country and the importance of strong school leadership. This program has supported targeted federal investments in school leadership that have delivered positive results for the students most in-need. Defunding SLRSP will harm efforts across the country focused on supporting school leaders, an area that has been traditionally underfunded and overlooked.
As the FY2018 appropriations process moves forward, we strongly urge Congress to restore funding for the SLRSP program at $14.5 million to reflect the FY2017 funding levels.