Late Monday afternoon, the Democratic leadership of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies released its FY2020 funding bill, which includes many of the core federal early childhood education programs. This year’s appropriations bill, scheduled for subcommittee markup on Tuesday, April 30, proposes major increases in funding for Head Start and Early Head Start, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Program, and the Preschool Development Grants Program.
Proposed FY2020 funding levels include:
- $7.7 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program
- Increase of $2.4 billion over FY2019
- $11.6 billion for the Head Start program, including Early Head Start
- Increase of $1.5 billion over FY2019
- Inclusive of a $525 million increase for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships
- $350 million for Preschool Development Grants Birth through Five
- Increase of $100 million over FY2019
The bill will be marked up by the subcommittee on Tuesday, which will then vote on whether to approve the measure for a vote of the full Appropriations Committee. Companion FY2020 funding legislation is expected to be introduced in the Senate over the coming weeks.
FFYF compiled the various “Dear Colleague” letters from the past several months related to FY2020 appropriations funding for early childhood education. This year there were 5 letters that garnered 269 signatures in the House and Senate calling for greater funding for early learning and care programs in FY2020 appropriations.
Due to the substantial number of states that applied for Preschool Development Grants funding, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) decided to award as many first-year planning grants as possible, ultimately awarding grants to 46 states and territories that range from $538,000 to $10.6 million. In order to fund the 46 states, the majority of applicants were not fully funded. And 39 states and territories had to revise their scopes of work and received approximately 71% of their original grant award request. HHS has indicated that, due to the overwhelming participation, not all states will receive implementation grants at the program’s current funding level. Therefore, increased federal funding of this program is critical to ensure the 46 states and territories awarded planning grants can move forward with implementation.
Last year, a deal reached by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as part of negotiations on the FY2018 budget bill resulted in an increase of $2.37 billion for the CCDBG program above FY2017 levels – nearly doubling the program’s discretionary funding. Congress then appropriated an additional $50 million for CCDBG in the bipartisan FY2019 funding bill.
FFYF looks forward to working closely with bipartisan members of the House and Senate to ensure the final FY2020 appropriations legislation includes robust funding increases for early learning and care programs. For these or other increases to be possible, Congress will first have to increase the current budget caps to avoid across-the-board cuts in funding.