Senate Education Spending Bill Would Increase Aid for School Safety, Charters

The Senate’s bill to fund the U.S. Department of Education would keep overall spending virtually flat, although grants for charter schools would get a relatively small increase, as would programs intended to improve school safety.  The legislation to fund the Education Department would provide $71.4 billion in discretionary funding to the agency for fiscal 2020, which starts Oct. 1. Another winner in the bill is the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program—officially known as Title IV Part A in the Every Student Succeeds Act—intended to provide more well-rounded school experiences to students. The Senate bill would provide a $50 million boost to these grants, bringing total funding to just over $1.2 billion. However, one relatively small program popular among Democrats would lose out; see more on that below. Given how different the Senate bill is from the education funding legislation passed by the Democratically-controlled House earlier this year, it’s fair to expect a significant amount of political wrangling before Congress finally reaches a deal on how much Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will have to spend next year. Just to name one example, the House legislation seeks to cut charter school aid by nearly 10 percent.