- The Washington Times - Monday, February 4, 2008

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT — $59.2 billion

President Bush proposed $59.2 billion for the Department of Education, the same amount as last fiscal year.

His proposal would save about $3.3 billion by eliminating 47 education programs, including arts initiatives, physical education and civic education programs.

Administration officials said many of the programs are duplicative or ineffective.

Title 1 — the Department’s main funding program to help poor students — would receive a $406 million increase to $14.3 billion, under the budget proposal. Special education would increase about $330 million, to $11.3 billion, and the Pell Grant program — a need-based college scholarship program — would receive a $2.7 billion increase. The Pell Grant boost is part of a longterm plan, approved by Congress last year, to increase Pell Grant funding by $11.4 billion over five years.

Mr. Bush also wants to create new school choice initiatives, including $300 million for a new program called “Pell Grants for Kids,” providing scholarships to allow children in chronically underperforming schools to attend the school of their choice.

The budget proposal also asks Congress to reverse an earlier action and provide $1 billion for the Reading First program. The program had management problems and Congress slashed its funding last year, but administration officials said they’ve worked hard to correct the problems.

“This is a program that is working to help kids,” Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said yesterday.

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