President Bush’s proposed 2006 budget includes large cuts in some important educational technology programs. According to this email from the American Library Association:
Overall, the President’s FY 2006 budget would cut education funding by $530 million, or 0.9%, for a total of $56.0 billion. Despite proposed increases for Title I, Striving Readers Initiative, and special education, the budget would cut or eliminate more than 150 programs, 48 of which are education programs. Some of those programs proposed for elimination include Even Start ($225 million) and the Enhancing Education Through Technology program ($496 million). The President also proposes cutting funding for Adult Education by $369.7 million, or 63%, from $585.4 million in FY 2005 to $215.7 million.
Some library programs fare a bit better:
Despite the extremely tight fiscal environment, the President’s Budget requests $262,240,000 for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, an increase of $21,565,000. For the Library Services and Technology Act, the budget includes $221,325,000, an increase of $15,374,000 from FY 2005. Within that total is almost $171 million for Grants to State Library Agencies, $26 million for Librarians for the 21st Century program, $14 million for National Leadership Grants for libraries, and $3.675 million for Improving Library Service to Native Americans. For school libraries, the President’s Budget proposes $19,683,264 for the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program, the same level as fiscal year 2005 and slightly below fiscal year 2004.
It’s anyone’s guess how the President’s proposals will hold up in Congress. It seems likely that these and other proposed cuts will be challenged by the Democrats and some Republicans. My school district has applied for a number of Enhancing Education Through Technology (E2T2) grants in the past. Losing that program will make it more difficult for states to support innovative technology projects.