Tuesday, November 15, 2005

One More Week to Tell Congress to Fund Ed Tech!

Congress and the Administration are in the process of finalizing how much money to devote to EETT for FY 06. The EETT program provides states and school districts with funds to purchase hardware and software, engage in professional development, develop database systems, operate online assessments, and conduct outreach to parents. Nearly 25% of states rely on EETT as their sole source of education technology funding. Last year, the program received an appropriation of $496 million.
At the beginning of this year, the Administration proposed in its FY 06 budget proposal to eliminate EETT entirely. The full House and the Senate Appropriations Committees disagreed with the Administration's position, proposing to fund EETT at $300 million and $425 million, respectively. Since Congress failed to approve final funding figures for all education programs by the end of the 2005 Fiscal Year (September 30), EETT has been operating under a temporary funding measure, known as a Continuing Resolution, which funds EETT until November 18th at the House's $300 million funding level.
The disaster wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita has thrown the entire FY06 Appropriations process into further tumult. A number of Congressional members are seeking to pay for the federal costs of reconstruction by cutting FY06 funding for all programs from 2% to 5% and eliminating some programs entirely. If either option is adopted, EETT could receive funding even less than the House's $300 million figure, which already represents a substantial cut from FY05 levels.