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Letter to full Senate on FY08 budget resolution

March 21, 2007

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to offer our views on the fiscal year 2008 Senate Budget Resolution. Overall, we are pleased that the proposed budget provides for $6.1 billion more for education programs than requested by the President—a critical step in meeting the needs of underfunded programs and fulfilling every child's basic right to a great public school. We urge you to:

  • Support passage of the proposed Budget Resolution;
  • Support any amendments that would further increase funding for any authorized public education program;
  • Oppose any amendments that would reduce education funding;
  • Support the Collins/Warner/Smith amendment to increase, expand, and make permanent the educator tax deduction.

Votes associated with these issues may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 110th Congress.

The federal budget should reflect the priorities of our nation, and ensuring all of our children a quality education should be a top priority. Additional investments in proven programs such as Title I and IDEA special education as well as higher education programs such as Pell Grants are essential if we are to close achievement gaps and maximize the academic potential of every student. Many key education programs are currently underfunded and unable to fully serve all eligible students.

The educator tax deduction helps recognize the financial sacrifices made by teachers and paraprofessionals, who often reach into their own pockets to purchase classroom supplies. The current deduction was extended at the end of 2006, but will expire again at the end of this year absent additional congressional action. The Collins/Warner/Smith amendment would add a deficit neutral reserve fund to the Budget bill, directing funding sufficient to increase the deduction to $400, make it permanent, and expand it to cover professional development expenses. 

We thank you for your attention to these important issues.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy