The CTE community should prepare for a fight to restore federal Perkins funds, which took its first hit in the FY11 appropriations bill, warned education policy experts at the NASDCTEc /OVAE Joint Spring Leadership Meeting last week.
The FY11 funding bill cut $140.2 million from Perkins, including completely eliminating funding for Tech Prep and cutting Basic State Grants by $37.3 million, said Jamie Baxter, Advocacy Manager of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). The cut will impact funds for the 2011-2012 school year.
Moreover, experts predict that the FY11 bill indicates that funding levels for FY12 may be poised for a similar fate. Thus far, the House has passed their FY12 budget resolution, which proposes to set non-security discretionary spending below 2008 levels and freeze it for five years. The resolution sets spending for Department of Education programs at $360 billion, which is the same as the FY06 level.
Rachel Gragg, Federal Policy Director for National Skills Coalition, said there is a new urgency to push for reauthorization of legislation such as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which funds education and training programs that are of interest to the CTE community. Rising concerns regarding duplicative and ineffective programs will likely endanger funding for such legislation. The strategy to maintain funding would be to expedite reauthorization with the assurance that new language will ensure the support of quality effective programs, she said. On a similar note, Perkins is up for legislation in 2012.
Spiros Protopsaltis, Education Policy Advisor for Senate Committee of Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, urged the CTE community to focus on advocacy efforts that highlight the strong role CTE plays in preparing students for college and career. Addressing that broad overall goal will appeal to Congress and the Administration, which are seeking investments that will prepare students to compete in the global economy and position the nation to succeed.
“CTE has an important role to play,” Protopsaltis said.