Federal Budget: Safe and Drug-Free Schools Funds Still Targeted for Zeroing Out

House and Senate appropriators have agreed to ax only 11 of 48 non-military discretionary spending programs targeted for elimination by the Obama administration, but funding for the Safe and Drug-Free Schools community grants program is one of them. That's what Congress Daily determined following an analysis of fiscal year 2010 budget documents and appropriations bills.

In May, the Obama administration compiled a budgetary hit list of 121 programs, military and non-military, that it recommended be cut or eliminated completely. The $295 million for Safe and Drug-Free Schools community grants was among those programs recommended for total elimination. The administration will continue funding the Safe and Drug-Free Schools National Program.

In recommending termination of the community grants program, the Obama administration argued that "while reducing violence and drug use in and around schools is a compelling goal, reviews by an independent evaluator and by a statutory advisory committee have demonstrated that this program is poorly matched to achieving that goal." It cited a 2001 RAND Drug Policy Research Center study that described the program as "profoundly flawed" and a 2007 Safe and Drug-Free Schools advisory committee study that affirmed the RAND findings.

"The program does not focus on the schools most in need and the thin distribution of funding prevents many local administrators from designing and implementing meaningful interventions," the White House said in its budget.

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees agreed with the White House and zeroed out the program. The House education appropriations bill has already passed, but the Senate bill is still in process. Proponents of the program may still try to reinstate it in the Senate or during the conference committee to reconcile the House and Senate appropriations bills.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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