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Letter to Democratic members of the House and Senate on the omnibus funding bill

December 13, 2007

Dear Representative:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to express our disappointment that the current political climate has created a situation in which the federal government cannot provide the funding levels necessary to help all schools and students succeed. NEA has stood together with Democrats in fighting for the resources to ensure great public schools for every child. Now, as you craft a new omnibus bill, we would like to offer the following suggestions:

  • Fund Title I at least to the level the President proposed. Title I services are essential to closing achievement gaps and giving every student the tools necessary for success. We urge you to provide at least the $13.9 billion proposed by the President. 

  • Fund IDEA special education at least to the percentage funded in FY 07. Over the past decade, the federal share of IDEA funding has risen, but the last two years have seen a slide in the percentage of special education funding provided by the federal government. We urge you to at least prevent any further reduction by providing at least at 17.2 percent ($10.97 billion) of the costs of educating students with disabilities.

  • Fund Perkins Career and Technical Education programs at least at FY 07 levels. We urge you to reject the President's demand to slice funding in half for this critical program and, instead, to at least retain the current $1.3 billion funding level. 

  • Eliminate funding for the Teacher Incentive Fund and Abstinence Only education programs. Particularly given the limited resources with which you are working, and the urgent needs in proven, underfunded programs, we believe directing any funds to these two unproven, unnecessary initiatives would reflect the wrong priorities. 

We thank you for your consideration of the above suggestions, which we respectfully believe reflect the priorities of the vast majority of Democrats. 

Sincerely,


Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy