Last week the House and Senate approved an omnibus spending bill for FY14, which the president signed on Jan. 17, 2014. ASCA is pleased the bill will level-fund the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program (ESSCP) at $49.561 million. Although we're disappointed Congress didn't restore the recent sequester cuts, we realize the preservation of this program, despite the current fiscal climate, is a step in the right direction. The FY14 funding for ESSCP is a direct result of your advocacy to save the program.
In addition to the ESSCP funding the omnibus included an increase of $28.516 million ($90 million total) to the Safe and Drug Free School Communities and National Programs. Exact guidance on these funds has not been released, but the program references comprehensive school safety and school climate initiatives. ASCA will be sure to keep membership notified if this proves to be further opportunities for increased school counseling services.
What happens next? The U.S. Department of Education will hold a grant competition for the next round of ESSCP grantees; this typically happens around August. ASCA will notify members of the grant announcement via social networking sites, the ASCA website as well as e-mail blasts. Stay tuned.
Amanda Fitzgerald, Director of Public Policy
American School Counselor Association