Education Week - May 16, 2018 - 17
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
Remains on Thin Ice
Federal aid offers lifeline for local programs
Eighteen years ago, Angela Henry decided to leave her job with an insurance
company to head up an after-school program near her home in southeastern
Kansas. Her parents and sister urged
her to reconsider.
At the time, Henry was a single mom,
making a steady $25,000 a year. The after-school program's funding depended
on fickle grant money. Why would
Henry want to take a job that might
not be around in another two years, her
Nearly two decades later, Henry is
still the director of SAFE BASE, which
currently serves low-income children in
kindergarten through 6th grade
She's exposed her students to Spanish, French, and yoga. She's gotten
them front-row seats to the dissection
of a pregnant shark carcass. She took
them on a camping trip to Colorado,
giving many their first glimpse of the
But she's never shaken the feeling that her job-and the program,
which is currently financed in large
part by the endangered $1.2 billlon
21st Century Community Learning
Center federal program-could disappear.
"I have been on edge with funding for
18 years," said Henry. She spends a lot
of time "piecemealing" smaller grants
together and once postponed surgery
for thyroid cancer to finish an application. "It's always living on a wing and a
prayer because we never know whether
or not we're going to be there."
SAFE BASE, which serves about 350
children, has been relatively fortunate
in its longevity, Henry said. Similar
programs serving poor children haven't
been so lucky.
Julie Denesha for Education Week
By Alyson Klein
Nationally, parents pick up most of
the tab for after-school programs, providing about 76 percent of the funding through tuition and fees, according to an analysis by the Afterschool
Alliance, a research and advocacy
organization in Washington.
Federal funding through 21st Century Community Learning Centers
can help low-income childrens gain
access to the programs. But the federal program's fate is often in question, despite some ardent supporters
on Capitol Hill.
That's been especially true since
President Donald Trump took office
in early 2017. He's sought to scrap
So far, Congress has rejected that
proposal-and even boosted funding
for 21st Century by $20 million in
the most recent spending legislation,
which primarily affects the 2018-19
But program directors aren't
breathing a sigh of relief. Trump has
put the program back on the chopping block yet again in his most recent budget request, which generally
affects the 2019-20 school year.
It isn't easy to get the community
and potential partners and supporters to buy in to a program that is
slated for elimination, said Veronica
Willeto, the center coordinator for the
Pryor Community Learning Center
in Montana, just south of Billings, on
the Crow Reservation.
"It just kind of puts people in a
mind frame that those dollars might
not exist, and therefore, your program
may not exist, so where else can we
put our funds," said Willeto, whose program receives a $50,000 annual grant
from 21st Century. "That's kind of the
challenge for us. They're just not really
White, center, and her sister
Savannah White, 2, left,
gaze at a birdseedencrusted pine cone during
a Jefferson Elementary
School after-school activity
in Iola, Kansas, with their
parents and second grader
Tyler Wright, 8, in the
PAGE 18 >
Trump Seeks $7 Billion Cut to Children's Health Insurance Program
By Andrew Ujifusa
President Donald Trump is seeking to chop
about $7 billion from the Children's Health
Insurance Program, known as CHIP, mostly
from unobligated funds, as part of a broader
effort to reduce government spending.
Trump is also trying to cut $150 million
from the Corporation for National and Community Service, which funds the AmeriCorps
for Future Educators program.
Although he signed the $1.3 trillion omnibus fiscal 2018 spending package sent to him
by Congress in March, the president has expressed unhappiness with the total amount
of federal spending and has declared that
he would refuse to sign such budget legislation in the future. The administration first
signaled several weeks ago that it was interested in rolling back spending through the
rescission process, which allows presidents
(with congressional approval) to withhold or
defer certain spending.
Congress has 45 days of continuous session
to approve or reject Trump's rescission request. Although the measure would only need
51 votes in the Senate to pass that chamber,
instead of a filibuster-proof 60 votes, the proposal might have difficulty getting congressional approval, even though the request for
the most part does not affect the fiscal 2018
spending agreement reached after many
months of pained negotiations and delays on
"These proposals include rescissions of
funding that is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was appropriated by the
Congress; in many cases, these funds have
been left unspent by agencies for years," Mick
Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote to Trump when
presenting the rescission requests.
Trump's CHIP request follows months of
fighting over reauthorization of the program,
which covers 9 million children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid
but who can't afford insurance on the open
market. Congress let authorization for the
program expire on Sept. 30. The delay created uncertainty for states about the fate of
federal funding for the program. As part of a
continuing resolution to continue government
spending in January, Congress ultimately
agreed to a six-year reauthorization of CHIP.
In the requested rescission, CHIP constitutes nearly half the total request across
various federal programs of $15.4 billion.
Of the requested CHIP rescission, $5.1 billion would be rescinded from reimbursements
to states for certain expenses, including
$3.1 billion in unobligated balances. Another
These proposals include ...
funding that is no longer
needed for the purpose for
which it was appropriated."
Office of Management and Budget
$2 billion would be rescinded from a program that helps states handle higher-thanexpected CHIP enrollment. CHIP is receiving
about $17.8 billion in fiscal 2018.
Those who've lobbied for less government
spending applauded the rescission request.
Trump's request "will signal a desperately
needed shift in mentality and begin to build
the legislative muscle memory for future action," said Tim Chapman, the chief operating
officer at Heritage Action for America, a conservative political action committee.
But CHIP advocates say the move is unnecessary and shortsighted.
The $2 billion that Trump wants to rescind
acts as a contingency fund, and if the request
goes through, there would only be $500 mil-
lion left for states to draw on to cover unforeseen circumstances, said Bruce Lesley, the
president of First Focus, an advocacy group
that prioritizes federal programs like CHIP,
the Earned Income Tax Credit, and Child Tax
"They're assuming that there might not
be a recession. Recessions happen pretty
quickly," Lesley said. "The contingency fund
is there for a reason. If it's not tapped into,
then fine. But there's no need to decide this
With respect to the remaining $5.1 billion
in CHIP money for certain state reimbursements, Lesley also argued that when states
have not used that money for that program,
lawmakers have typically appropriated it
for other federal health programs. He said it
would be a mistake for the Trump administration to override that practice.
As for the rescission request's political
prospects, Lesley said, "I think there's less
appetite in the Senate to do this [than the
House]. But who knows?"
The $150 million rescission request for the
National Corporation for Community Service, which is getting approximately $1.1 billion in fiscal 2018, would affect excess funds
set aside for AmeriCorps' members' educational awards for fiscal 2018. The rescission
request states this move "would have no effect on outlays."
EDUCATION WEEK | May 16, 2018 | www.edweek.org | 17