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Blunt-Led Bill Invests in Education, from Early Childhood Through Career

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS), today announced that the fiscal year 2020 Labor/HHS appropriations bill includes several new investments in high-quality early childhood care and education, elementary and secondary education programs, and higher education. The bill was filed today and is expected to be considered by the full Senate later this week. 

“This bill invests in education programs that are aimed at giving every child in this country the opportunity to be successful – from the time they first step into the classroom until they’re on a career path. The bill supports high-quality early childhood care and education, giving kids the right start while working parents are able to continue building their future. The bill increases funding for elementary and secondary education programs that provide the most flexibility to local school districts and schools to decide how to best use limited resources to improve educational outcomes. With workforce demands continuing to evolve, the bill increases funding for programs that help students of all backgrounds pursue the full-range of post-secondary options, whether it’s getting into college and succeeding while they’re there, or returning to school for an advanced credential to further their career. Strengthening our education system and supporting students at every stage in their academic careers isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the necessary thing to do to maintain our role as a global leader in growth and innovation.”

Early Childhood Care and Education:

Head Start: The bill provides $10.6 billion, an increase of $550 million, for Head Start. This includes funding to help all Head Start programs keep up with rising costs, maintain enrollment, and continue to provide high-quality services for children and families. In 2018, Missouri Head Start programs received more than $167 million to serve 15,000 children and their families. The increase includes:

  • $250 million in new funding for all Head Start programs targeted at improving trauma-informed care practices to address adverse childhood experiences, including those related to substance use disorders;
  • $100 million to expand Early Head Start, which serves children and families from before birth to age three, including partnerships with child care providers to leverage investments in child care and improve the quality of those programs.

Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG): The bill provides $5.8 billion, an increase of $550 million, for CCDBG. This funding will help ensure and improve the safety and quality of child care programs, including increasing provider payment rates, and expand working families’ access to high-quality child care. Missouri receives over $95 million from CCDBG annually, and an additional $56 million from related mandatory programs. Blunt previously highlighted the importance of CCDBG during a roundtable discussion led by Ivanka Trump in Kansas City.

Preschool Development Grants: The bill provides $275 million, an increase of $25 million, to help improve the coordination of existing early childhood programs for children from birth to five. Missouri received a $6.5 million planning grant in January 2019.

Elementary and Secondary Education: 

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): The bill provides $13.6 billion, an increase of $410 million, to support the educational needs of students with disabilities. Missouri received approximately $254 million from these programs for the 2019-2020 school year.

Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies: The bill provides $16.3 billion, an increase of $450 million, for grants to school districts to help all children meet challenging state academic standards. Missouri received approximately $249 million in Title I funding for the 2019-2020 school year to support schools with a significant number or percentage of students from low-income families.

Title II Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants: The bill provides $2.1 billion, an increase of $76 million, to support teacher professional development.

Impact Aid: The bill provides $1.5 billion, an increase of $40 million, for Impact Aid. Missouri school districts receive approximately $26 million annually to help compensate for the presence of federal activities and land, including lost revenue.

STEM and Computer Science Education: The bill provides $65 million, an increase of $5 million, in targeted STEM and computer science education funding, including supporting STEM/CSE teachers.

Higher Education:

Pell Grants: For the third year in a row, the bill increases the maximum Pell Grant award, providing an increase of $150 or 2.4%, for the 2020-21 school year, from $6,195 to $6,345. Approximately 90,000 students receive over $350 million in Pell Grant funding to attend Missouri colleges and universities. In 2018, Blunt successfully led efforts to restore funding for year-round Pell Grants. 

Career Pathways: The bill provides $20 million to establish new initiatives at the Departments of Labor and Education with the goal of improving pathways to good careers beginning in high school. Funding is targeted to the “lost decade,” which is the timeframe after high school when some young adults have “jobs,” but not “careers.”

  • $10 million for a new initiative at the Department of Education to help states, school districts and institutions of higher education implement a wide-range of activities with the goal of improving pathways for students beginning in high school that can lead to the full-range of post-secondary college and career options.  
  • $10 million for a new youth career pathways demonstration program at the Department of Labor to improve workforce readiness, employment and training opportunities, and provide early exposure to multiple career pathways.

Campus-Based Student Aid Programs: The bill provides $865 million, an increase of $25 million, for Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and $1.2 billion, an increase of $50 million, for Federal Work Study. These programs provide flexibility for colleges and universities to design financial aid packages to best meet their students’ needs.

TRIO: The bill provides $1.1 billion, an increase of $30 million, for the TRIO program to help low-income and first generation students get into college and succeed when they are there.