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Monday, March 29, 2010

School Construction and Renovation: A Review of Federal Programs

Cassandria Dortch
Analyst in Education Policy

The United States spent over $48 billion on new construction, additions, and alterations in public and private K-12 schools and postsecondary institutions in 2008. The average total cost of each project was $5 million. 

Although state and local governments are traditionally responsible for the majority of facilities in public K-12 schools and postsecondary institutions, the federal government also provides some direct and indirect support for school infrastructure. Facilities at private institutions are funded primarily by donations, tuition, private foundations, endowments, and governments. The largest federal contributions are indirect—the forgone revenue attributable to the exemption of interest on state and local governmental bonds used for school construction, modernization, renovation, and repair; and other tax credits. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA; P.L. 111-5) created or expanded several tax credit bond programs: Build America Bonds (BABs), Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs), Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs), New Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs), and Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs). 

Federal direct support for school infrastructure is provided through loans and grants to K-12 schools serving certain populations or K-12 schools with specific needs. There are grant programs for schools with a high population of students who are Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Indians, children of military parents, individuals with disabilities, or deaf. Funding is also available to schools affected by natural disasters or located in rural areas. And there are programs to encourage the development of charter schools. The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund established by and funded through ARRA for FY2009 and FY2010 allows federal funds to be used for modernization, renovation, or repair of public school facilities without regard to specific purposes. 

At the postsecondary level, there are several programs to support institutions of higher education that serve large low-income or minority populations and to support research facilities. The allowable uses of funds in the programs authorized by Titles III and V of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, variously include construction, maintenance, renovation, and improvement of instructional facilities and acquisition of land on which to construct instructional facilities. There are programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education and other agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Commerce, that support postsecondary research facilities, facility renovations at minority-serving postsecondary institutions, telecommunications, disaster relief at postsecondary institutions, and other uses. 

This report provides a short description of federal allowances and programs that provide support for the construction or renovation of educational facilities. The allowances and programs are organized by the agency or organization that administers or regulates the program. Appropriations and budget authorities are included for FY2009 and FY2010. These programs exist in various forms and responsibility for their administration is spread across many agencies; thus, the list of programs presented should not be considered a fully exhaustive list of all federally funded programs that support school facilities and infrastructure at least in part. This report will be updated as warranted to reflect changes in programs or funding levels.

Date of Report: March 23, 2010
Number of Pages: 31
Order Number: R41142
Price: $29.95

Document available electronically as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail or call us at 301-253-0881.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Early Childhood Care and Education Programs: Background and Funding

Karen E. Lynch
Analyst in Social Policy

Gail McCallion
Specialist in Social Policy

Federal support for child care and education comes in many forms, ranging from grant programs to tax provisions. Some programs serve as specifically dedicated funding sources for child care services (e.g., the Child Care and Development Block Grant, or CCDBG) or education programs (e.g., the Preschool Grants Program and Infants and Toddlers Program funded under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). For other programs (e.g., Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF), child care is just one of many purposes for which funds may be used. In many cases, federal programs target low-income families in need of child care, but in the case of certain tax provisions, the benefits reach middle- and upper-income families as well. This report provides an overview of federal child care, early education, and related programs, and their current funding statuses. 

Funding for many child care, early education, and related programs is provided each year as part of the annual appropriations process for the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education (ED). This report briefly summarizes funding requests for a selection of early childhood care and education programs in the Obama Administration's FY2011 President's Budget, which was released on February 1, 2010. In addition, this report reviews funding developments in FY2010 and provides a six-year funding history for select early childhood care and education programs and tax provisions that are discussed throughout this report. 

Several early childhood care and education programs have funding authorizations that have already expired or are due to expire soon. The Child Care and Development Block Grant, for instance, expired in FY2002. However, it has continued to be funded through appropriations legislation. Authorization for many programs under the No Child Left Behind Act expired at the end of FY2008, though they have also continued to receive funding. Head Start, however, was reauthorized by the 110th Congress in legislation that was signed into law (P.L. 110-134) by the President on December 12, 2007. 

Date of Report: March 18, 2010
Number of Pages: 21
Order Number: R40212
Price: $29.95

Document available electronically as a pdf file or in paper form.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The SAFRA Act: Education Reconciliation in the 111th Congress

Cassandria Dortch, Coordinator
Analyst in Education Policy

David P. Smole
Specialist in Education Policy

Shannon M. Mahan
Specialist in Education Policy

The FY2010 budget resolution (S.Con.Res. 13) includes reconciliation instructions that specifically direct the House Committee on Education and Labor to report a bill that invests in education while reducing the deficit by $1 billion over the FY2009-FY2014 period. The budget resolution also directed four other committees—two in the House and two in the Senate—to each report changes in laws within their jurisdictions to reduce the deficit by $1 billion for the period of FY2009 through FY2014. 

In response to budget reconciliation instructions on July 27, 2009, the House Committee on Education and Labor submitted H.Rept. 111-232 to accompany H.R. 3221 to the House Budget Committee for incorporation into the budget reconciliation bill. The House is preparing to vote on H.R. 3590, the health care reform measure as passed by the Senate, and on an accompanying reconciliation bill, the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 4872, as reported (subsequently referred to as the Amendment to H.R. 4872). The reconciliation bill would change several controversial elements in H.R. 3590 and otherwise amend the underlying legislation so that its budgetary impact meets the reconciliation instructions in last year's budget resolution. If the House approves H.R. 3590, it will be sent to the President to be signed into law. The reconciliation measure, the Amendment to H.R. 4872, if approved by the House, would then be taken up by the Senate. 

Several of the education provisions in H.R. 3221 were not preserved in the Amendment to H.R. 4872. Title II, Part A of the Amendment to H.R. 4872 would terminate authority under the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, as amended, to make loans under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program after June 2010. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that this would reduce mandatory spending by $28.6 billion over the FY2010-FY2014 period, and by $61.0 billion over the FY2010-FY2019 period. These savings would be large enough to achieve the $1 billion reduction in spending specified in S.Con.Res. 13, while offsetting increases in mandatory spending that would result from the expansion of other HEA programs. Overall, CBO estimates that Title II, Part A of the Amendment to H.R. 4872 would reduce mandatory spending by $5.1 billion over the FY2010-FY2014 period and by $19.1 billion over the FY2010-FY2019 period. 

In addition to terminating the authority to make loans under the FFEL program, Title II, Part A of the Amendment to H.R. 4872 would fund expansions of existing HEA programs and benefits, including the Federal Pell Grant program, the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (DL) program, programs serving Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority-Serving Institutions, and the College Access Challenge Grant program. It would also amend the income-based repayment (IBR) plan. 

Title I of the Amendment to H.R. 4872 contains provisions regarding health coverage, Medicare, Medicaid, and various tax revenues. Title I would also amend and fund the Community College and Career Training Grant Program. 

This report reviews and briefly describes the proposals contained in the Amendment to H.R. 4872, particularly those which amend programs authorized under HEA. It will be updated as warranted to track legislative developments.

Date of Report: March 19, 2010
Number of Pages: 20
Order Number: R41127
Price: $19.95

Document available electronically as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail or call us at 301-253-0881.