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The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act: Reauthorization and Appropriations

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Abstract:

The No Child Left Behind Act (P.L. 107-110) amended and reauthorized through FY2007 the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (SDFSCA) within the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as Part A of Title IV, 21st Century Schools. The act is likely to be considered for reauthorization by the 110th Congress. Funds are authorized for the SDFSC program, which is the federal government's primary initiative to prevent drug abuse and violence in and around schools. Through the program, state educational agencies, local educational agencies, and outlying areas are awarded grants by formula to create programs deterring drug abuse and violence among elementary and secondary students. Discretionary funds support national programs for various national leadership projects to prevent drug abuse and violence among students from preschool through postsecondary educational levels.

For FY2006, Congress appropriated $568.8 million for the program. For FY2007, the President requested $216.0 million for national programs only, and proposed no funding for state grant programs. The House Appropriations Committee, however, recommended $526.0 million for the SDFSC program, and the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $492.5 million (both including $310 million for state grants). For FY2008, the President has requested $323.2 million for the program, which includes $100 million for state grants and $224.2 million for national programs. The SDFSC program continues to operate at FY2006 levels under a continuing resolution through February 15, 2007.

In the 109th Congress, several bills were introduced related to school safety and violence prevention. All of the bills were referred to the appropriate committee, but died at the end of the 109th Congress, except one (H.R. 3010). H.R. 3010, the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-149), was amended by the Senate to require the Secretary of Education to conduct a study evaluating the effectiveness of violence prevention programs that receive funding under SDFSCA. This amendment, however, was not included in the conference agreement and did not become law. Another amendment to H.R. 3010 was introduced on the Senate floor to increase funding for the SDFSC program, but was ruled out of order by the chairman. One bill has been introduced thus far in the 110th Congress related to SDFSCA. H.R. 354, the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act (SAVE Act), would amend the ESEA by requiring states to allow a student attending a persistently dangerous public school, who has been a violent-crime victim on school property, while riding a school bus, or attending a school function, to transfer to a safe public school within the school district. The bill was referred to the House Education and Labor Committee, but no further action has occurred.

This report discusses the 107th Congress SDFSCA reauthorization and appropriations to fund the SDFSC program, and possible 110th Congress reauthorization issues.