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Aug 24, 2017
Press Release

BISMARCK, ND – Congressman Kevin Cramer met with the North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders today in his Bismarck office.

The North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders (NDCEL) is composed of ten associations that include superintendents, secondary principals, elementary principals, county superintendents, special education directors, vocational education directors, school business officials, athletic directors, technical directors, and regional education agency directors. NDCEL’s purpose is to establish communications among the members of the constituent associations achieve mutual goals, achieve higher standards, give sound counsel to state and community leaders, and to improve the status of school administrators in North Dakota.

“It was a pleasure meeting with the council today to discuss how we can achieve better results for students across North Dakota,” said Cramer. “The House is well on its way to approving the appropriations bill that funds the Department of Education and I appreciate getting the feedback from our local educational leaders on the bill.”

The FY 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Subcommittee Appropriations Bill was approved on July 19 by the House Appropriations Committee. The bill includes funding for:

  • Department of Education – The bill funds the Department of Education at $66 billion, which is $2.4 billion below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The bill eliminates several duplicative or ineffective education programs, and makes reductions to several other lower‑priority programs.
  • Special Education – The bill includes $12.2 billion for IDEA special education grants to states, an increase of $200 million over the fiscal year 2017 enacted level, which will maintain the federal share of special education funding to states.
  • Student Support and Academic Achievement State Grants – The bill includes $500 million, $100 million above the fiscal year 2017 level, for grants that provide flexible funds to states and school districts to expand access, improve school conditions, and increase the use of technology.
  • Impact Aid – The bill provides over $1.3 billion for Impact Aid, an increase of $5 million above the current enacted level.
  • Charter Schools – The bill increases funding for charter schools by $28 million, to a total of $370 million.
  • Title I Program – The bill approves $15.46 billion for Title I grants to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs, or school districts), which is the same as the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $421 million below the president’s fiscal year 2018 budget request. Title I grants provide supplemental education funding for activities that offer extra academic support to help students from low-income families and in high-poverty schools to meet State academic standards.
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers - The bill includes $1 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which is $1 billion above the president’s fiscal year 2018 budget request. This program awards formula grants to States, which in turn distribute funds on a competitive basis to local funds may be used to provide activities that complement and reinforce the regular school-day program for participating students and may also fund local activities that are included as part of an expanded learning time program. The Committee notes that $1 billion is the level authorized for this program by the ESSA.
  • Rural Education - The bill approves $175.84 million for Rural Education programs, which is the same as the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $334,000 above the president’s fiscal year 2018 budget request. There are two programs to assist rural school districts with improving teaching and learning in their schools: the Small, Rural Schools Achievement program, which provides funds to rural districts that serve a small number of students; and the Rural and Low-Income Schools program that provides funds to rural districts that serve concentrations of poor students, regardless of the number of students served by the district. Funds appropriated for Rural Education shall be divided equally between these two programs.
  • TRIO and GEAR UP programs, which help first-generation college students prepare for, enter, and complete college, are increased by $60 million and $10 million, respectively, bringing TRIO programs to a total of $1.01 billion and GEAR UP to a total of $350 million.
  • Pell Grants – The maximum Pell Grant award is maintained at $5,920, funded by a combination of discretionary and mandatory funds. The bill rescinds $3.3 billion of the total $8.5 billion Pell surplus. The Administration’s budget proposed a rescission of $3.9 billion.