FY2005 Labor/HHS Appropriations (11-29-04)
The primary interest for the geoscience community with the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (known as the Labor/HHS) appropriations bill is the treatment of science education within the Department of Education (DoEd). When the No Child Left Behind Act was signed into law on January 8, 2002, it transformed the way in which the federal government funds elementary and secondary math and science education. In the past, math and science education was funded through the Eisenhower National Programs, which included the Eisenhower Professional Development Grants provided to each state, the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC), and the Eisenhower Regional Mathematics and Science Education Consortia. The FY 2004 budget request would eliminate funding for the ENC in keeping with separate legislation passed in November 2002 to restructure the former DoEd Office of Educational Research and Improvement into the new Institute of Education Sciences. The No Child Left Behind Act also established Math/Science Partnerships (MSP) as a DoEd program to provide support for improving math and science education. This program is complemented by an identically named program at the National Science Foundation, funded through the VA, HUD and Independent Agencies appropriations legislation. For more information, see the American Institute of Physics FYI 2003-84.
The Department of Education (ED) requested a total of $57.34 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of nearly 3% from last year's funding level. Similar to the last couple of years, the ED program for math and science education for elementary and secondary education is funded through the Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program -- there is an identically named program at the National Science Foundation that complements the ED program. The funding request for MSP is $269.1 million, an 80% increase over last year's allocation. However, this funding is primarily for mathematics, not science. In addition, this large increase is due to a decrease in the NSF part of the MSP program. The Administration plans to phase the MSP program out of NSF and move it entirely to ED.
Additional information on the ED budget is available at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OUS/Budget04/04summary/index.html.
The Department of Education received a $2 billion increase in funding for a total of $60.3 billion in FY05. This amount is $400 million more than the President requested. There is an additional $16.8 billion in unspent funds that are currently available to the states. The bill allocates $269 million for Math and Science Partnerships, which is a $120 million increase over FY04 and identical to the President's request. These additional funds will be used to increase the number of teachers trained in the fields of math and science.
The Committee recommended $61.4 billion dollars for the Department of Education, 10% more than the FY04 enacted level and 7% more than the President's request. The Mathematics and Science Partnerships would receive $200 million, $9 million or 4.5% less than requested but $51 million or 34% more than current funding. The report states, "These funds will be used to improve the performance of students in the areas of math and science by bringing math and science teachers in elementary and secondary schools together with scientists, mathematicians, and engineers to increase the teachers' subject-matter knowledge and improve their teaching skills."
Once again, Congress failed to pass all thirteen appropriations bills by the September 30th deadline and opted to pass two continuing resolutions, funding all federal agencies at FY04 levels until December 3. Congress came back into lame duck session on November 16th with the omnibus appropriations legislation first on the agenda. When all the dust settled, Congress agreed on the massive 3000 page $388 billion spending bill H.R. 4818 for FY05. The bill, which was crafted under the mantra of fiscal restraint, employed a 0.8% across-the-board cut to reign in spending. This figure is reflected in the FY05 Enacted column on the table above.
The Department of Education will receive $56.5 billion in FY05, 1.5% more than the current enacted level. The Math and Science Partnerships budget increased 16% to $179 million. This will mean more formula grants to the states for Math and Science Partnerships. However, in the same omnibus spending bill, Congress reduced the National Science Foundation's Math and Science Partnership program, a peer-reviewed competitive program to find and fund the most innovative partnerships across the country, by 43%. This means that in the future, there will be less innovative programs for the formula grant administered by the Department of Education to draw from. These programs work in a complementary fashion and an increase in one with a decrease to the other does not add up to success for the overall program goals.
Sources: Math and Science Partnership Working Group; White House Office of Management and Budget; Department of Education website; House Appropriations press release.
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program.
Contributed by Emily M. Lehr, AGI Government Affairs Program staff; Gayle Levy, AGI/AAPG 2004 Spring Semester Intern; and Ashlee Dere, AGI/AIPG 2004 Summer Intern, David Millar AGI/AAPG 2004 Fall Semester Intern.
Last Update November 29, 2004