Jay Diskey returns to Westchester Words to provide a preview of the topics that will be discussed during the “2023 Federal and State Education Funding Update.” webinar hosted by Westchester Education Services on Thursday, February 23, 2023.
Nicole Tomassi (00:06):
Welcome to Westchester Words, education, ed Tech and publishing. I’m Nicole Tomassi, and in this episode, I’m pleased to welcome back Jay Diskey of Diskey Public Affairs, to talk about some of the changes that have occurred in federal and state education funding since I last spoke with him in the fall. Jay, welcome back to Westchester Words.
Jay Diskey (00:26):
Well, thank you, Nicole. Thanks for having me.
Nicole Tomassi (00:29):
Towards the end of December, uh, Congress actually made a significant move in terms of education funding for 2023. Wondering if you could bring us up to speed on that.
Jay Diskey (00:40):
Yeah, so I’d be happy to, Nicole. That’s right. In late December, the US Congress, uh, finally finalized fiscal year 2023. I say finally, because the, uh, budget is, uh, it’s supposed to, uh, be done by the end of, uh, September. So as usual, Congress was running several months late. But the good news is, is that, uh, they increased, uh, K12 programs by 5.6%, which is a, which is a really, really solid increase. Now, this is 5.6%, uh, over 2022 levels, and it really continues a, a really fine trend of, uh, increases in the annual programs that, uh, Congress authorizes.
Nicole Tomassi (01:23):
Obviously, 5.6% is a very solid number, as you said. Um, was there anything striking in how the allocations were made?
Jay Diskey (01:33):
Yeah, well, most programs, uh, got very good increases. Uh, now the 5.6% wasn’t across the board. Title One, for example, uh, which is the major program authorized by the every student succeeds act formerly called the No Child Left Behind Act. The Title One funding rose 4.8% of the less than the overall increase, but still very solid increase, uh, title three funding for English language, uh, acquisition, 7% increase, which is, uh, very significant. The Title four block grant program for student enrichment, it, it grew to 7.7% or increased 7.7%. And, uh, this really, uh, is important because again, it continues a trend, which I’ll be happy to get into in just a second. Uh, for these programs.
Nicole Tomassi (02:26):
Correct me if I’m wrong, these funds are the typical annual funds that Congress allocates and COVID monies or funds that we’ve talked about in the past are over and above these allocations.
Jay Diskey (02:40):
Yeah, that’s a very important point. I’m glad you raised that, Nicole. Uh, these are the annual allocations that are made for programs that are authorized by Congress, and the Every Student Succeeds act. The thing that really or, the funds that really got along attention over the past several years were the Covid Relief Funds, the Emergency Covid Relief Funds. Um, those going to separate and apart from these annual allocations and those funds, total 190 billion, which again, that’s over and above the annual allocations. The 190 billion, the largest single investment in education funding in, uh, our nation’s history, really historic. But those funds are short-term funds. Uh, some have been exhausted already, and the remaining part of that package, the American Rescue Plan, those funds, uh, are set to end on September 30th, 2024. That’s when those funds must be used by or committed by, uh, meanwhile, the annual allocations will continue.
Nicole Tomassi (03:50):
Right. And not to leave out the states, there’s also been, um, varying moves in different states, particularly California and Florida, in terms of education overall. Do you wanna speak to those?
Jay Diskey (04:04):
Yeah, absolutely. Uh, overall, uh, last year, for example, with states, uh, I think nearly every state that was in session, and a few weren’t. Some states, uh, skip a year, like Texas, but nearly every state I think were the exception to, uh, increased education funding. Uh, and some did it significant. Uh, California, uh, had just historically huge increases in K-12 funding, uh, well over 12 or 13%. For example, uh, Florida I think was around 8%. Uh, again, really large increases, and I say really large because when you follow state budgets, as I have for many years, uh, state and federal education budgets, you’ll see that usually one, two, 3% increase is pretty good. Uh, and is, you know, uh, typical by historical norms. But last year, uh, and the year before that, states funded, uh, K-12, uh, very well, and also post secondary. A lot of this had to do with trying to fund learning recovery programs.
Jay Diskey (05:18):
They are very important in the aftermaths of Covid 19. So yeah, the states did have various, uh, big budgets. Right now, state legislatures are meeting again, uh, to do the next year’s budgets, many of which will start on July 1st. The budget proposals, uh, look pretty good, but most states won’t fund as many in increases as they did last year. Uh, in California, for example, it’s pretty much right now looking at flat funding education. But on the other hand, oh, what California did last year was so historically large, uh, I don’t think, think anybody are surprised that, uh, the state made flat fund or maybe even take a little cut. Uh, so we’ll see. But that has six months to go before California, and many states come to any sort of, you know, final stages in their budget.
Nicole Tomassi (06:11):
I, I had been reading, you know, towards the end of the year, in the beginning of this year, um, that California specifically as well as New York, were both staring down very significant budget deficits overall, just in their general, uh, budgets due to for California effects of, um, all the Silicon Valley kind of shaking itself Out. In New York, just the, you know, the financial markets not performing well and big banks shedding employees there. But it sounds like from what you’re saying, even though that’s happening, and even though there’s going to be budget deficits it’s not necessarily going to have an impact on education.
Jay Diskey (06:45):
Yeah. At this point, uh, does it appear so, uh, but again, the increases won’t be as large and many states, uh, have very large rainy bay funds, uh, including California, uh, not in New York. That is true. Uh, so it will be really up to individual states. I think it, I, again, I think the, there will be, the education funding will at this point. It looks, it will be okay with some increases. I know that Georgia, uh, governor has rolled out a budget, uh, that has very good increases at it, for example, uh, in other states as well. But there is some belt tightening that’s gonna go on. Uh, I think as everybody knows, it’s hard to listen to any newscast and not hear the R word recession. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, the majority of a Congress and the country are predicting some sort of recession. Most, uh, are calling it a potential mild recession later in the year. And that has led a lot of states into more of a belt, uh, tightening posture ship. On the other hand, uh, just this morning, new numbers for the gross domestic product, uh, were the G D P were, uh, uh, released and they were pretty good. The economy, in many ways is still strong, not nearly as strong as it used to be, uh, but holding up. So it’s going to be an interesting year for all of us, uh, for everybody involved in education, but for every consumer out there as well.
Nicole Tomassi (08:19):
And that’s probably the key word for 2023. Interesting. <laugh>, I saw those numbers this morning as well. It’s either a tale of two countries, or it’s a tale of 50 very different state economies.
Jay Diskey (08:30):
Yeah, it really is. And, and looking at this, and again, I’ll use California as an example. That state has had, you know, massive flooding, uh, over the past several weeks or two months. They had Ty. Uh, typically they have a lot of wildfires. So, you know, these, these sort of emergencies have to be addressed through various types of funding. Um, and Florida, for example, had a horrific hurricane.
Nicole Tomassi (08:58):
Jay Diskey (08:58):
That’s Southwest Florida. Um, and, uh, Metro Sure, the state and it’s counties are still paying for that. So it really is an individual thing. Uh, state, my state also, uh, a number of states, the so-called energy states, obviously Texas, Louisiana, but also places like, uh, Montana, Wyoming, which are energy states they’re being affected in various ways by, uh, oil prices, uh, fluctuating a great deal. So, uh, again, it’s, it’s always a 50 state story when you really get into these budgetary conditions.
Nicole Tomassi (09:39):
Just wanna let listeners know that you’re going to be joining Kevin Gray in February and going to bring everybody up to date on where things are at that point in time in terms of education funding for K-12. There’ll be more about the states in terms of where they’re progressing with their budget talks.
Jay Diskey (09:57):
Yeah, I’m looking forward to the, uh, webinar in late February. This is the, uh, an update of a, uh, webinar that Kevin and and I together, uh, last fall. So now, uh, we’re gonna preview, uh, the budgets that will roll out in 2023. We’ll also take a look at some of the other types of bills that are being passed, uh, that have to do with education, technology, instructional materials, curriculum, uh, et cetera. So I’ll have a number of examples of various types of bills that are kicking around in the States as well as in, uh, United States Congress.
Nicole Tomassi (10:36):
Yes, there’s definitely a lot of legislative action happening. People who want to, uh, get an update on what’s happening and how it’s gonna play into your product development plans, please visit our website, westchestereducationservices.com, and you’ll find the webinar registration information there. Jay, thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to give us a bit of a preview and an update on what’s been happening, and we’ll catch you in a couple of weeks for the webinar.
Jay Diskey (11:04):
Very Good. Thanks so much, Nicole.
Nicole Tomassi (11:07):
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