For this fiscal year, at least, funding for the Eisenhower Professional Development Program WILL NOT be block granted, as had been proposed by the House. Instead, the Eisenhower program will be funded as a SEPARATE program for FY 1999 at the Senate level of $335 million, which is the same amount as in FY 1998.
Congress and the White House reached final agreement on the budget this afternoon, although the Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which is expected to be thousands of pages long, will not be passed until sometime tomorrow. The bill details $500 billion in spending---about one-third of the federal budget---and folds eight of the 13 annual appropriations bills into one huge spending bill.
After the vote on this bill is taken, the 105th Congress will go out of business, and lawmakers will return to their districts and states to campaign for the November elections.
One of the most interesting last-minute developments during the budget negotiations was a bipartisan deal to provide $1.1 billion in funding for reducing class size and hiring and training quality teachers. This is President Clinton's original class-size reduction/hiring of 100,000 new teachers initiative but with a Republican twist: Funding will go directly by formula (50 percent based on school-age population and 50 percent based on Title I, or poverty level) to local school districts through Title VI. Only 3 percent of the money can be used for administration at the local level.
Local districts will not have to apply for the funds. The only accountability requirement is a local annual report to parents and the public on student achievement.
Funds can be spent to recruit, hire, train, and test regular classroom teachers, special education teachers, and teachers of special needs children. The money can also be used to hire qualified teachers through state and local alternative certification routes and to carry out professional development of teachers consistent with the new professional development provisions under the Higher Education Act (details on this in a later NSTA update). The funds CANNOT be used to increase teacher salaries or benefits
The budget deal does NOT include expansion of the Ed-Flex Program from the current 12 states to all states, as had been proposed. Nor does it include Clinton's school construction proposal.
Further details on the budget deal will appear in the next NSTA update. ******************************************************* Jerry P. Becker Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA Fax: (618)453-4244 Phone: (618)453-4241 (office) E-mail: JBECKER@SIU.EDU