Ed Tech Funding Up in Newly Enacted Omnibus


Following passage in the United States Senate Tuesday, the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 was signed into law March 11 by President Barack Obama. The act brings significant funds to education and education technology for the remainder of fiscal 2009 above and beyond those provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. But just how much?

EETT and Other School Improvement Programs
In the category of "School Improvement Programs" in the omnibus, $5.36 billion in funding is available for a wide range of programs, including school technology. While the legislation itself does not break down certain types of funding, the U.S. Department of Education has published its breakdown based on H.R. 1105.

In this breakdown, $269.87 million is allocated to Title II, Part D of the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 (ESEA), otherwise known as "Enhancing Education Through Technology" (or EETT)--the sole source of federal funding for education technology under ESEA. This is a modest increase of 0.8 percent over the 2008 allocation. However, in the stimulus package signed into law back in February, EETT also received $650 million. The $269.87 in the omnibus package is above and beyond the stimulus package funds.

Other appropriations in the category of School Improvement Programs mentioned specifically in the legislation include:

  • $5 million is going toward a school leadership partnership initiative;
  • $7.5 million is earmarked for teacher and principal quality national activities administered by the Secretary of Education;
  • $1.5 million will go to the Department of Education of the State of Hawaii for "construction, renovation and modernization of any elementary school, secondary school, or structure related to an elementary school or secondary school" for schools that sere predominantly native Hawaiian students;
  • $1.5 million will fund a grant for the University of Hawaii School of Law for a Center of Excellence in Native Hawaiian law;
  • $57.11 million will fund section 203 of the Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002;
  • $33.79 million is to carry out part D of title V of ESEA ("Fund for the Improvement of Education");
  • $17.69 million is for the Supplemental Education Grants program for the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands; and
  • $7.36 million is for the Foreign Language Assistance Program.

That amounts to $131.45 million in specific allocations, leaving about $5.23 billion of the total $5.36 billion to be divided amongst various programs under the heading of "School Improvement Programs." These include Parts A, B, and D of Title II; Part B of Title IV; subparts 6 and 9 of Part D of Title V; Parts A and B of Title VI; and parts B and C of title VII of ESEA (excluding section 5494). These also include the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act; section 203 of the Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002; the Compact of Free Association Amendments Act of 2003; and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Of the total, about $3.5 billion will become available July 1, 2009 and will remain available through Sept. 30, 2010; another $1.68 billion will become available on Oct. 1, 2009 and will also remain available through Sept. 30, 2010 for academic year 2009-2010. There's $184.71 million in funds whose availability dates are not included in the legislation.

The Department of Education breaks it down this way (numbers rounded):

  • Improving teacher quality State grants (Part A), advance for succeeding fiscal year: $1.69 billion
  • Improving teacher quality State grants (Part A), annual appropriation: $1.27 billion
  • 21st century learning opportunities (ESEA IV-B): $1.13 billion
  • State assessments (ESEA VI-A-1): $410.73 million
  • Mathematics and science partnerships (Part B): $178.98 million
  • Rural education (ESEA VI-B): $173.38 million
  • Education for homeless children and youths (MVHAA Title VII-B): $66.43 million
  • Comprehensive centers (ETAA section 203): $57.11 million
  • Education for Native Hawaiians (ESEA VII-B): $33.32 million
  • Alaska Native education equity (ESEA VII-C): $33.32 million
  • Foreign language assistance (ESEA V-D, subpart 9): $26.33 million
  • Supplemental education grants (Compact of Free Association Act): $17.69 million
  • Training and advisory services (CRA IV): $9.49 million
  • Javits gifted and talented education (ESEA V-D, subpart 6): $7.46 million

Additional Education Spending
Beyond school improvement programs, the Omnibus Appropriations Act awards several billion dollars to other areas of education, school improvement, and technology. This includes $996.43 million under the heading of "Innovation and Improvement." These funds are allocated for "carrying out activities authorized by part G of title I, subpart 5 of part A and parts C and D of title II, parts B, C, and D of title V, and section 1504 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965."

The largest portion of these funds ($216.03 million) goes to charter school grants. Other significant areas include Teaching American History ($118.95 million), FIE Programs of National Significance ($115.97 million), Magnet Schools Assistance ($104.83 million), Teacher Incentive Fund ($97.27 million), Transition to Teaching ($43.71 million), Parental Information and Resource Centers ($39.25 million), and Arts in Education ($38.17 million).

Other education-related funding areas in the omnibus--outside of the categories of "School Improvement" and "Innovation and Improvement"--include:

  • $15.76 billion for education for the disadvantaged, including Title I of ESEA and section 418A of the Higher Education Act of 1965;
  • $12.58 billion for IDEA;
  • $3.39 billion for assistive technology for "carrying out, to the extent not otherwise provided, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, and the Helen Keller National Center Act";
  • $1.27 billion in impact aid;
  • $730 million for Title III Part A;
  • $690.37 million for "safe schools" and "citizenship education"; and
  • $122.28 million for Title VII, Part A of ESEA.

The complete text of the legislation can be found on the THOMAS system by searching for "H.R. 1105." A complete Department of Education breakdown of funding in the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .