Government Funding Bill Includes Key Texas Priorities in Education
I supported the passage of H.R. 244, which funds the federal government through the end of the 2017 fiscal year, and includes funding for several education programs and priorities important to Texas:
The Omnibus Appropriations bill for 2017 funds several education initiatives important to the state of Texas.
- Impact Aid – For Impact Aid, the legislation provides $1.33 billion in funding, which is an increase of $23 million from last year’s funding levels and includes a $2 million increase for the federal property program. These programs provide flexible funding to local school districts impacted by the presence of federally owned land and activities, such as national parks and military bases, like Killeen ISD, Copperas Cove ISD, Lackland ISD, Brookeland ISD and Lewisville ISD.
- Charter School Program - The legislation includes a $9 million increase from fiscal year 2016 spending levels for the Charter School Program, which provides grants to states, charter management organizations, and other related entities for the start-up, replication, and expansion of high-quality charter schools. There are more than 150,000 families in Texas on waitlists to get into public charter schools, and I have continuously pushed to increase federal funding for the Charter School Program.
- Magnet Schools Assistance Program - The Magnet Schools Assistance Program received a $1 million increase to provide grants to local school districts to establish and operate magnet schools, support the development and design of innovative education methods, and implement practices that promote diversity and increase choice in public education programs. Magnet Schools provide more choice and competition within the public school system and have been wildly successful across Texas from Houston, where the term “magnet” school was first coined in the 1970s, to Dallas, where two of its magnet schools made the top ten in the U.S. News and World Report's rankings of the nation's best high schools.
- TRIO Programs – The legislation provides $950 million, an increase of $50 million from last year’s funding levels, to TRIO programs. These programs provide services to students from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them enter and complete college and postgraduate education. Language in the legislation addresses the concern that the Department of Education rejected several Upward Bound grant applications based on minor formatting issues, including Jarvis Christian College in Texas, by strongly encouraging the Department to grant permission for submission of a corrected application.
- National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – The legislation allocates $952 million for NIST, which includes continued support for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The NNMI delivers research and partnership opportunities with the private sector through a network of manufacturing institutes to improve advanced manufacturing processes. Texas universities can compete for grants under this program that could lead to more job creation and industrial breakthroughs.