What could a Trump education budget look like?

Andrew Ujifusa of Education Week has an interesting look ahead into the federal budgeting process — and what to expect from President Trump’s first budget for K-12.

The short answer, predictably enough: It’s too early to tell.

We know this much. Last week, Trump said he would propose boosting defense spending by $54 billion in 2017-18. That could necessitate a 10 percent cut in domestic agencies such as the U.S. Department of Education, Ujifusa reports.

And what would a 10 percent budget cut look like?

“The current discretionary-spending budget for the Department of Education is $68.1 billion, and the single biggest budget item included in that amount are Pell Grants for low-income students attending college, totaling $22.5 billion,” Ujifusa writes. “The biggest program by dollar amount at the department related to K-12 public schools is Title I, designated for disadvantaged students, at $14.9 billion. A 10 percent cut would bring the department’s discretionary spending down to roughly $61.3 billion. That would mark its lowest level since fiscal 2008, when discretionary spending at the department was set at $59.2 billion.”

Now to a few Idaho numbers.

  • Idaho received $264.3 million in federal money for K-12 in 2016-17.
  • The bulk of this money, $249.1 million, goes into the “children’s programs” portion of the K-12 budget. And much of that money, in turn, supports programs for at-risk or special-needs students.
  • When the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee drew up 2017-18 K-12 budget proposals last week, budget-writers assumed federal funding would remain unchanged. But a 10 percent budget cut could mean a $26.4 million drop in federal funding for K-12.

More reading: With the turbulent transition in the White House, the 2017 legislative session becomes the “wait-and-see” session.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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