National School Boards Association Executive Director and CEO Thomas J. Gentzel recently released the following statement in response to the administration’s proposed FY 2018-2019 budget:

“Programs that support teacher and principal recruitment, preparation and retention, and student academic enrichment should not be sacrificed as proposed in the Trump Administration’s budget. These programs lay the foundation of the nation’s future workforce and global competitiveness.

“As Congress moves forward with a new appropriations package we hope federal lawmakers will disregard the Administration’s proposed approach to eliminate funding entirely for teacher and principal support and student enrichment programs. Over 50 million children attend public schools, and supporting their education through robust teaching and learning must be a national priority. Indeed, funding for teacher training and student support services are of utmost importance to the innovation that will boost college and career readiness in America.

“NSBA appreciates Congress’ diligence in keeping the budget process moving forward, and encourages federal lawmakers to disregard areas of the proposed budget that fall short of a strong investment in public education. The nation’s state school boards associations and their 90,000 local school board members rely on lawmakers to support keeping federal tax dollars in public schools and public programs.

“We support investments in special education, Title I grants for disadvantaged students, and innovative programs that create an intellectually and technically skilled workforce. We have the ability to make smart investments in public education that will lift millions of people out of poverty, and give them a wonderful chance to lead an enriched and prosperous life.”

The New Jersey Perspective New Jersey’s 2018 federal fiscal year entitlement for the current school year totals almost $482 million for programs funded under federal Titles I through IV. Included are $337 million through Title I, which is meant to help low-income and at-risk children meet academic standards; about $46 million under Title II, which applies to professional development for teachers; nearly $20 million under Title III, which supports English language programs for students with limited English proficiency; and almost $9 million under Title IV to support school improvement and innovation, with most districts slated to get $10,000 each.

Cuts made by Congress to federal education aid programs would reduce the amounts that school districts in New Jersey would receive in those areas.

Congress needs to include provisions in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that refocus the efforts of schools and families to work collaboratively and support positive education outcomes for all students. New Jersey receives 15 percent of the 40 percent promised for full funding, which is a 2 percent drop since the 2016-2017school year. IDEA has grown to provide increasingly detailed requirements for states, school districts, and families on issues such as discipline, placement, and due process procedures. Congress needs to consider reauthorizing the law to fully fund and address the challenges facing schools pertaining to our special needs population.

The six major themes for education in the president’s proposed FY 2019 budget are as follows:

  • Providing better choices for more families to attend a high-quality school;
  • Supporting high-quality special education services to children with disabilities;
  • Creating new and alternative pathways to successful careers for students;
  • Promoting innovation and reform around STEM education;
  • Implementing school-based opioid abuse prevention strategies; and
  • Making the United State Department of Education more efficient while limiting the federal role in education.

The president’s budget provides $63.2 billion in discretionary funding, a $3.6 billion or 5 percent decrease from the 2017 spending level.

The budget eliminates, streamlines or reduces 39 discretionary programs that duplicate other programs, are ineffective, or are more appropriately supported with state, local, or private funds.

The budget supports $129.8 billion in new post-secondary grants, loans, and work-study assistance to help an estimated 11.5 million students and their families pay for college