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All in on Education: A Closer Look at President Biden's FY2022 Budget
On Friday, May 28, President Biden release his administration’s first full budget proposal. Given that it spans almost 1,500 pages and contains funding totaling $6 trillion, even the most seasoned advocates could have trouble parsing out what items are most important to their interests. While we wait to see how Congress responds to the President’s proposal, you can find the education and mental health aspects most important to school psychologists below. Detailed information on the education and health and human services budgets are linked here and here respectively. NASP’s press release in response to the budget is here.
School Psychology Shortages
We are thrilled to see the Biden Administration’s continued commitments to supporting students’ mental health and doubling the number of school psychologists and other school mental health professionals. The FY 2022 budget proposal includes $1 billion to increase the number of school psychologists, counselors, nurses, and social workers in schools. This represents the largest federal proposal to address the shortages in school psychology and is the result of years of collective hard work and advocacy. This money is in addition to resources provided initially in the American Rescue Plan Act. In the President’s proposal, the $1 billion would be distributed on a formula basis and would enable states to establish university partnerships to help recruit and prepare students to enter a school mental health field and to improve student–practitioner ratios. As you may recall, NASP, in collaboration with many other partner organizations, has been asking for significant increases to two existing grant programs that address shortages in similar ways: the Mental Health Services Professional Demonstration Grant Program and the School Based Mental Health Services Grant Program. Biden’s proposal seemingly combines these two grant programs into one large program that would be available to all states. We are in communication with Congressional and Administration staff and will share more details as we have them.
Elementary and Secondary Education
The President’s FY 2022 budget proposal includes a record increase in funding for the Department of Education—$29.8 billion (41%) over the FY 2021 level.
- Title I-A (ESSA) Education for the Disadvantaged: $36.5 billion
- Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) – funding remains level from FY 2021
- Title I Equity Grants – This new program would allocate funds through a new formula to the highest poverty school districts and create additional incentives for more equitable state and local funding systems. The entirety of the Title I increase ($20 billion) goes toward this new program. We are actively seeking additional details about this program, but it appears to be based off of this report by the Center for American Progress if you are interested in learning more.
- Title II-A (ESSA) Supporting Effective Instruction – $2.15 billion
- This program provides formula grants to state education agencies (SEAs) to improve the effectiveness and increase the number of educators in schools.
- Title IV-A (ESSA) Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant – $1.2 billion
- This program provides grants to support well-rounded educational opportunities, safe and health students, and the effective use of technology.
- School Safety National Activities – $116 million
- The $10 million increase under the fiscal year 2022 request is for Project Prevent and would support the Administration’s Community Violence Intervention initiative by investing in projects that incorporate strategies for reducing gun violence through tools other than incarceration. This program currently funds the two shortages grants mentioned above.
Special Education Services
We are excited to see that the FY 2022 budget proposal includes an increase of $2.7 billion over FY 2021 enacted for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Total funding for IDEA is now at $15.5 billion—one step closer to meeting Congress’ promise to fully fund their share of special education funding.
- The FY 2022 request also includes $38.6 million for State Personnel Development Grants, which can be used to help improve the training and development of special education and regular education teachers serving children with disabilities. This funding can also help to recruit and retain additional personnel who are qualified to provide services to children with disabilities.
- President Biden proposes $250 million in funding for Personnel Preparation grants, an increase of $160 million over the FY 2021 level. The Administration is also requesting $90 million in new mandatory funding for these grants as part of the American Families Plan. This program funds activities that ensure adequate numbers of personnel qualified to serve children with disabilities in schools.
Mental and Behavioral Health
In addition to Department of Education funding designated for mental health investments, the FY 2022 Department of Health and Human Services budget also includes significant investments in mental health funding.
- Community Mental Health Services Block Grant – $1.6 billion, more than double the FY 2021 level
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – $9.7 billion, an increase of $3.7 billion over the FY 2021 level
- $180 million for suicide prevention programs
- $155 million for Project AWARE
- $125 million for children’s mental health services
- $17 million for SAMHSA’s Minority Fellowship Programs to develop a more diverse behavioral health workforce
We will work to keep you informed as Congress responds to President Biden’s first budget request and how negotiations affect school psychologists’ priorities. Stay tuned for further details and opportunities for advocacy. In the meantime, check out our key messages and talking points for school psychologists to use when talking about the importance of education funding. We need your help to get this important funding across the finish line!