Friday, June 10, 2016

This week, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced bipartisan legislation setting Fiscal Year 2017 funding levels for a number of federal agencies and programs, including the Assistance for Arts Education at the U.S. Department of Education. It was the first time in seven years that the Senate subcommittee advanced bipartisan legislation for this largest domestic spending bill!

The Assistance for Arts Education was most recently reauthorized in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) signed into law in December. The funding supports competitive awards for national nonprofit organizations engaged in arts education, professional development activities, and model arts education programs. Funds also are used for evaluation and dissemination. These programs have received consistent bipartisan support from Congress—despite intense funding challenges year after year—ultimately winning congressional support annually. Congress most recently approved a $2 million increase in funding, approving $27 million in support for the program in Fiscal Year 2016. The Senate bill would retain this funding level for the coming year.

The proposal still has a way to go; the House of Representatives has yet to consider the legislation. Final congressional decisions about funding allocations are currently expected after the November elections.