This fall, as you are embarking on the back-to-school grind, Congress returns from their summer recess with a very important task at hand — funding the federal government for the next fiscal year, which begins October 1. With implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in full swing this school year, appropriations for education is a key issue that Congress will have to address.
In March of this year, Congress passed appropriations legislation for FY18, which provided funding for the 2018-19 school year. We were thrilled to celebrate the results of our advocacy efforts because they funded Title IV, Part A of ESSA at $1.1 billion! That’s an increase of $700 million over the mere $400 million that was appropriated for this critical new state block grant in FY17.
As a reminder, the funds allocated under Title IV, Part A will be distributed to states and school districts to support:
- Well-rounded education — which includes health and physical education;
- Safe and Healthy Students programs; and
- Effective use of technology in schools.
Now, as we look ahead to funding for FY19, which will impact the 2019-20 school year, it’s so important that we keep up our advocacy efforts. These funds will offer schools an exciting new avenue to improve their health and physical education programs.
Help Secure $1.6 Billion to Support Health and PE
Title IV, Part A was authorized at $1.6 billion for FY 2019 under ESSA. The current proposal in Congress would fund this title at $1.17 billion. While this is significant and also an increase over the $1.1 billion we received this year, it’s not time to rest on our laurels. It still falls short of the $1.6 billion that the education leaders in Congress recommended when they passed ESSA in 2015.
So, I ask you to join us in our advocacy efforts to retain, and hopefully, increase this funding for schools in FY19. What can you do?
- Participate in our annual Online Advocacy Day efforts on September 25. We’re asking Congress to support full funding of Title IV, Part A as they address appropriations legislation, and we could use your help!
- Before Tuesday, September 25, take this brief quiz to find out what type of advocate you are and get connected to key resources to support your advocacy journey that were cultivated just for you.
- Sign up for our Twibbon social media campaign to spread the word to your online network about the importance of being an HPE advocate.
- Then on September 25, send a SHAPE America Action Alert directly to your members of Congress asking them to fully fund Title IV, Part A at $1.6 billion. Let’s flood Congress with emails and tweets about how important this funding is to schools and to the health and wellness of our students!
Advocate for Your Program on the Local Level
In addition to advocating for funding on the federal level, you can make an impact on how your state and school district decides to spend their ESSA dollars.
Right now, many school districts are still making decisions on how to spend their new Title IV, Part A funding. Use our online form to find out how much money your school district is receiving and use our ESSA Funding Brainstorming Worksheet to craft your funding ask so that you’ll have the best chance of success when approaching your administrators.
As school districts conduct their needs assessments and allocate ESSA funding, ensure that health and PE are part of the process!
Make sure you continue to educate yourself about opportunities in ESSA and stay informed along the way. Check SHAPE America’s Top 10 Tools for ESSA webpage often, as we share the latest news, tools, and resources that are available to support your advocacy efforts.
Now that you’re an ESSA expert, go out and spread the word!
Carly Wright is Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at SHAPE America.