Sending Office: Honorable Suzanne Bonamici
Support Students and Empower Local School Districts
Fully Fund Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants in ESSA
DEADLINE: March 14, 2018
Please join us in encouraging the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee to fully fund the Student Support and Academic Enrichment formula grant program at the authorized amount of $1.6 billion.
In 2015, Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, bipartisan legislation that replaces the failed policies of the
No Child Left Behind Act. An important new program in the Every Student Succeeds Act is the Student Support and Academic Enrichment formula grant program, which is authorized in Title IV, Part A. The program provides flexible block grants
that allow school districts to provide locally-tailored services for students who need them most. These funds will provide critical programming, including school-based mental health programs, drug and violence prevention programs, STEM and computer courses,
dual enrollment programs, and arts, civics, and programs to help deal with the nation’s opioid crisis
We are confident that this grant program will empower local school districts to tailor learning to best meet their students’ needs. The
Every Student Succeeds Act authorizes $1.6 billion to carry out this program, and the full amount is needed to support our students.
If you would like to sign your boss on to this letter, please complete this
form. If you have any questions, please contact Lakeisha Steele (Lakeisha.Steele@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Bonamici’s office or Charles Castagna (Charles.Castagna@mail.house.gov)
in Rep. Curbelo’s office.
Suzanne Bonamici Carlos Curbelo
Member of Congress Member of Congress
The Honorable Tom Cole The Honorable Rosa DeLauro
Chairman Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and
Human Services, and Education Human Services, and Education
House Appropriations Committee House Appropriations Committee
H-309, U.S. Capitol 1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515 Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro:
As you develop the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriations bill for the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, we encourage you to help close opportunity and resource gaps in our nation’s public schools by funding the Student Support
and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) flexible block grant program under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) at its authorized level of $1.6 billion.
In 2015, Congress passed a bipartisan education bill that replaced the failed policies of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB.) ESSA returns a great deal of control to states and school districts and eliminates federally-mandated one-size-fits-all interventions
for struggling schools. Unlike NCLB, ESSA empowers school districts to identify and respond to the unique needs of their students and communities.
To enable school districts to provide locally-tailored programming and supportive services for students who need them most, the SSAE flexible block grant program (Title IV-A) allows districts to invest in a wide range of programs meant to promote safe and
healthy schools, make sure all students have access to a well-rounded education, and equip schools with the technology and necessary training to ensure teachers are effectively personalizing student learning.
More specifically, the flexible block grant, if fully funded, will enable states and local school districts to support a variety of services, such as school-based mental health programs, drug and gun violence prevention programs, physical education programs,
and programs to help deal with the nation’s opioid crisis. The grant will also support well-rounded learning opportunities, including expanded access to arts, music, civics, computer science, and foreign language courses; Advanced Placement, dual enrollment,
and other rigorous and accelerated courses; and STEM and STEAM courses, which may integrate arts and music to foster innovation and creative thinking.
Bipartisan members of Congress recognized the value of this flexible formula funding to support and enrich students in school districts across the country when, in drafting the ESSA, we authorized $1.6 billion for the program in FY 2018. Unfortunately, the
SSAE program only received $400 million in FY17, which presented serious implementation issues in the program’s first year of funding and was wholly inadequate to provide the flexibility at the local level or to run the program as Congress intended. Funding
this program at less than 25 percent of its authorized level in its first year required Congress to include additional appropriations language in the final FY17 bill that allowed states to allocate funds to districts competitively, contrary to what is authorized
in ESSA. As a result, the funds for this flexible program that were meant to support all districts only reached the winners of the state competition in some states.
The promise of ESSA to provide local districts with flexibility to make meaningful investments in programs including computer science, AP, music and the arts, mental health services, and professional development for technology has been severely hindered
due to Congress’ failure to provide adequate funding for this program in its first year.
In order to support a strong workforce and ensure our students are college and career ready, we must continue to invest in our nation’s schools, educators, and most importantly, our students and give districts true flexibility about how to best support their
schools. For these reasons, we strongly urge Congress fully fund the SSAE flexible grant program at $1.6 billion in FY 2019.
Thank you for your consideration of this request. We look forward to working with you to make sure students in every community are supported and enriched to reach their maximum potential.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0