Washington, D.C. – As the Senate ended its legislative year with the passage of the sweeping Omnibus Bill, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced several education-based wins he advocated for in the legislation.
“Education is the ticket to the American dream for working families across Pennsylvania and throughout the nation,” Senator Casey said. “I am pleased that members of the Senate worked together to put our differences aside and do what is best for students and the future of our country.”
These accomplishments include:
- Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG): The bill provides $2.8 billion, a $326 million increase over FY15 levels, for CCDBG. In total, this program helps over 95,600 children, and their families in Pennsylvania every month, and Pennsylvania can expect to receive more than $183 million in fiscal year 2016. This increase will help states implement the health and safety improvements required by the CCDBG Act of 2014, while maintaining working families’ access to quality child care options.
- Preschool Development Grants: The bill provides $250 million for FY16. This is flat funding from FY15 after both the House and Senate versions of the bill eliminated the program entirely. Nearly 60,000 children in the U.S. would have lost access to preschool without this funding. Senator Casey led the bipartisan letter to appropriators on Preschool Development Grants.
- Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Education: The bill provides $107 million, an increase of $7 million over FY15 levels, for the OCR. OCR will be instrumental in implementing ESSA equity provisions and will be a significant player in implementing Senator Casey’s Campus SAVE Act legislation.
- Head Start: The bill provides Head Start over $9.16 billion, an increase of $570 million over FY15 levels. This includes $141 million for cost-of living increases for grantees. The bill also includes $135 million for Early Head Start and $294 million to expand Head Start to full-day and full-year programs. Senator Casey led the letter to the appropriators on early childhood education, including Head Start and Early Head Start.
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B – Preschool Grants & Part C - Grants for Infants and Families: Senator Casey led the letter to appropriators on early childhood education, including support for early intervention and students with disabilities.
- Title I: The bill provides $14.9 billion, an increase of $500 million from FY15, for Title I grants for low-income students. Over 60 percent of schools in Pennsylvania receive Title I funding.
- Pell Grants: The bill provides $22.475 billion for the Pell Grant program and it will maintain the maximum discretionary award at $4,860 for the 2016-2017 school year. Approximately 100,000 more students will be awarded Pell Grants in the 2016-2017 school year than in this current school year.
- TRIO: The bill provides $900 million, an increase of over $60 million from FY15, for the program to help low-income and first generation college students prepare for higher education.