On Friday, President Biden released his “skinny budget”, a proposal for fiscal year 2022 containing top-line spending numbers. Congress rarely takes up the President’s proposed budget wholesale, but the proposal, especially in the first year of a President’s term, establishes an important benchmark for priorities, and Biden’s is clear: the federal government should be more invested in education, especially in ensuring equitable funding for the highest-need students.
Under the proposal, Title I funding would more than double and IDEA funding would increase by 20 percent. The proposed budget also includes significant increases to grant funding for “full-service community schools” (schools that provide comprehensive academic, social, and health services for students and their families), funds dedicated to helping schools hire more counselors, nurses, and mental health professionals, as well as to foster increased diversity. Overall, the U.S. Education Department’s discretionary spending would increase 41 percent, the largest increase of any major agency.
Significant increases to Title I funding could be a boost for charter schools, which serve greater proportions of low-income students than traditional district schools, though challenges remain in ensuring all eligible funds make it to charter schools when they are not their own local education agency.
Lots of questions remain in the details of the administration’s budget, especially around the Charter Schools Program, but NACSA is excited to see an increased investment in education. We encourage the administration to remember that charter schools are an integral component of the public education system and should be treated equitably.