U.S. Department of Education Prepares to Reduce Workforce

According to federal records, the U.S. Department of Education issued a contract with Graduate School USA for Reduction in Force (RIF) Training. The Washington, DC-based institution provides “professional development and training courses for the federal government and the private sector, serving organizations and individuals with programs designed to support organizational missions, career and occupational development, and the personal ambitions of adult learners.”

The contract is for $28,418 to consult with the Department on how to go about upcoming layoffs. President Donald Trump’s first budget provides $59 billion in discretionary spending for FY 2018 for the Department which reflects a reduction of $9 Billion or 13 percent of the annualized 2017 continuing resolution levels. The budget reflects President Trump’s commitment to school choice, but also reflects the elimination of numerous programs within the Department.

Some highlights:

  • Eliminates the $2.4 billion Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program, which is poorly targeted and spread thinly across thousands of districts with scant evidence of impact.
  • Eliminates the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports before- and after-school programs as well as summer programs, resulting in savings of $1.2 billion from the 2017 annualized CR level. The programs that lack strong evidence of meeting its objectives, such as improving student achievement.
  • Eliminates the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, a less well- targeted way to deliver need-based aid than the Pell Grant program, to reduce complexity in financial student aid and save $732 million from the 2017 annualized CR level.
  • Reduces Federal Work-Study significantly and reforms the poorly-targeted allocation to ensure funds go to undergraduate students who would benefit most.
  • Eliminates or reduces over 20 categorical programs that do not address national needs, duplicate other programs, or are more appropriately supported with State, local, or private funds, including Striving Readers, Teacher Quality Partnership, Impact Aid Support Payments for Federal Property, and International Education programs.

The Office of Personnel Management states, “when an agency must abolish positions, the RIF regulations determine whether an employee keeps his or her present position, or whether the employee has a right to a different position.”

They also state, “each agency has the right to decide what positions are abolished, whether a RIF is necessary, and when the RIF will take place. Once the agency makes these decisions, the retention regulations then determine which employee is actually reached for a RIF action.”

In FY 2015 the U.S. Department of Education had over 3862 full-time employees down from 4,066 in FY 2011.

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