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FY 14 Appropriations

Congress recently passed the passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (pdf).  This legislation sets the funding levels for each Federal Agency  and directs funds to specific grant programs.  Thanks to your advocacy, funding was increased, or restored for a number of grants and programs that will help ensure that all students have access to the academic, behavioral, social-emotional, and mental health supports they need to be successful in school. NASP will continue to work with Congress, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Justice to ensure that comprehensive school psychological services, and school psychologists, are integral to any initiative to improve school and student outcomes.

Title I Grants  to Local Education Agencies. FY 14-$14.3 Billion, increase of $624 Million. These grants provide financial assistance to local education agencies and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families.  Federal funds are allocated through statutory formulas based on census poverty estimates and the cost of education in each state.  Title I funds can be used to provide academic support such as extra instruction in reading and math, after school opportunities, and summer programs.  Schools may also use Title I funds to implement school wide programs including positive behavior interventions and supports, response to intervention, or other multi-tiered systems of support.  The FY14 Appropriations bill includes new language clarifying that Title I funds may be used to address the transportation needs of homeless children and youth and to support homeless liaisons.

School Improvement Grants (SIG) are competitive grants used to substantially raise the achievement of students in their lowest-performing schools.  There are four models that schools may use with this grant: turnaround model; re-start model; school closure model; transformation model.  The FY14 Appropriations bill now allows funds to be used to implement a “research-proven, whole-school reform model.”  In addition, this new language would allow states to award 5-year grants (grants are currently for 3 years). This would allow schools additional time to plan and implement their turnaround efforts.

Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities National Programs. FY14 $90 Million, increase of $28.5 million. These grants provide support to State Education Agencies for a variety of activities including counseling services, substance abuse prevention, and violence prevention, among other things.  The Department of Education determines how to use the $90 million in funding for these grants.   Of the $90 million allocated for the Safe and Drug Free Schools programs, $8 million must be used to fund Project SERV Grants. This grant funds short and long term education related services to help LEAs and higher education institutions recover from a violent or traumatic event in which the education environment was disrupted.

Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program- FY14 $49.5 million- level funded. This is the only federal grant program that allows LEA’s to establish or expand school counseling programs.  These funds can also be used to hire school counselors, school psychologists and school social workers.

McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth-  FY 14 $65 million, increase of $3.2 million.  These formula grants are used to coordinate the education of homeless children and youth, gather information about these children and the impediments they face in order to attend school.  These grants help ensure that homeless children and youth have access to a free and appropriate public education.

Race to the TopFY14 $250 Million.  Race to the Top funds are to be used for competitive grants to help States develop, enhance, or expand high quality pre-school programs for children from low and moderate income families- including children with disabilities. These early childhood preschool programs must include comprehensive services and family engagement.

IDEA Grants to States. FY14 $ 11.4 billion, increase of $497 million. This formula funded grant is provided to states to ensure that all children have access to a Free and Appropriate Public Education. These funds can be used to: pay the salaries of special education teachers and other professionals who provide related services; provide technical assistance and personnel preparation; assist LEAs in providing positive behavioral interventions and supports, and improving the use of technology in the classroom.

Project  Aware State Grants- $ 40 million; Mental Health First Aid $15 Million. These two new initiatives were proposed in President Obama’s Now is the Time (pdf) plan.   These two initiatives will provide training to educators, and other professionals that regularly interact with youth, on how to recognize signs of mental illness and how to ensure they get referred for the treatment they need.

Comprehensive School Safety Initiative $75 Million. This new program provides $50 million for pilot grants to improve school safety. The National Institute of Justice will collaborate with members of the law enforcement, mental health, and education communities to develop a strategy and model for comprehensive school safety that also addresses concerns with about the school to prison pipeline. When applying for these grants, schools are encouraged to consult with law enforcement and school mental health professionals when applying.  In addition to these pilot grants, $25 million will be available for research to analyze the potential causes of violence in schools, including exposure to violence in the media.  NASP has been, and will continue to be actively involved in the creation of these grant proposals.

NASP will continue to monitor the status of all these programs and keep you updated. For specific questions, contact Kelly Vaillancourt.