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Letter to the House of Representatives urging support of FY09 budget resolution

March 05, 2008

Dear Representative:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we write to convey our appreciation for the increases provided for education in the Chairman’s proposed fiscal year 2009 Congressional Budget Resolution. We urge you to support this resolution.

The proposed budget would increase education funding by $3.8 billion next year.   We applaud the decision to provide $7 billion more for education than the Administration has requested — significantly departing from the path the President wishes to take, as we must to equip the next generation of Americans to compete successfully in the global economy of the 21st century.  

The federal budget should reflect our nation’s priorities. Top among those priorities should be ensuring that all children have a quality education, best obtained through additional investments in proven programs such as:

  • Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • Higher education programs such as Pell Grants
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

These programs are underfunded and unable to serve fully all eligible students. Additional investment in them is essential to close achievement gaps and enable all students to realize their full potential.

In addition, we urge you to continue the $250 tax deduction for educators’ out-of-pocket expenditures for classroom supplies, raise the deduction to $400, and make it permanent. We are pleased by the proposed reserve fund for higher education and look forward to working on the details. We appreciate the reserve fund for reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act that provides critically important payments to 4,400 school districts in rural counties in 42 states.

Overall, the proposal is an essential step toward meeting the needs of underfunded programs and fulfilling every child’s basic right to a great public school. We urge passage of this resolution and look forward to working with you on these and other issues it moves forward.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy