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Letter to the House on FY14 Appropriations

May 20, 2013

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the more than 3 million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we strongly urge you to vote NO on the proposed 302(b) allocations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. In particular, we strongly oppose the proposed allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, which is 18.6 percent below the final and devastating FY 2013 post-sequester level and 22.2 percent below the FY 13 pre-sequester level. Simply put, cuts of this magnitude, including for programs serving the nation’s neediest students, should be unthinkable.

The level of cuts imposed by the indiscriminate across-the-board cuts of the sequester have already taken federal funding back to pre-2004 levels, with scores of children being dropped from Head Start rolls, immediate cuts to schools served by Impact Aid, announced furloughs of educators who serve our military families, with additional harmful impacts expected as the next school year starts.

Yet the proposed FY14 allocation goes dramatically further with deeper cuts, that would be devastating for students, schools, institutions of higher education and communities. Excluding Pell Grants, if the Department of Education’s discretionary budget were to be cut by 18.6 percent, FY14 would crater to levels below FY2002, the first year under the No Child Left Behind Act. During that time, our preK-12 schools are educating 2.22 million more students and our higher education institutions are educating 5.43 million more students. Put another way, while our nation’s students are now expected to be prepared to compete in a global economy, Congress would be suggesting that our schools can get by with educating 7.65 million more students with no additional resources. This defies commonsense.

Here are just a few examples of what an 18.6% cut would mean:

  • Title I Grants to school districts slashed by another $2.56 billion
  • Impact aid cut by another $228 million
  • IDEA State grants cut by another $2.04 billion
  • Head Start slashed an additional $1.42 billion

The proposed funding allocations take us in precisely the opposite direction needed. Congress needs to replace the remaining sequester cuts, not cut deeper, with a balanced package that demands the wealthiest and corporations pay their fair share.  Indiscriminately cutting investments to education in a race to the bottom shortchanges our students today and weakens our economy in the long run.

 We urge you to reject the proposed 302(b) allocations before the Committee.

 Sincerely,

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations