FY24 Appropriations Update and How a Government Shutdown Impacts Schools

September 29, 2023

Congress’s time to fund the government beyond Saturday’s midnight is dwindling. The Senate has begun debate on a continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the government until November 17. The proposal also provides $6 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine as well as funding for natural disasters (both far less than the Administration requested).

Procedurally, the earliest the Senate will be able to pass the measure is on Sunday – then all eyes will be on the House. Many House Republicans have said they will not support a CR that continues funding at current levels, has funding for Ukraine, or doesn’t include certain policies that Democrats won’t support, including on border security (all of which the Senate’s proposal has).

If there is a shutdown, for the most part, schools can expect to operate business as usual. However, there are two programs for schools that will be immediately affected by a government shutdown: 1) Impact Aid and 2) Head Start. These programs are not forward funded like most federal education funding, like Title I and IDEA, so schools will not receive the next round of expected funding while the government is shutdown.

As for school meal programs, in previous government shutdowns, they have continued to receive federal funding and maintained operations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has not issued any guidance for a potential shutdown at this time, so it may be helpful to look at the steps that USDA took during previous government shutdowns. In 2019, USDA leveraged Carryover and Section 32 funds to keep programs operating. In addition, USDA issued a Q & A, initial guidance and additional guidance