Ever thought about joining AmeriCorps NCCC... well, you probably won't be able to:
A few minutes ago, the President released his budget request for fiscal year 2007. To continue our vital work to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering, the Administration has requested a FY 2007 budget for the Corporation of $851.5 million.
The proposed budget will enable the Corporation to support 75,000 AmeriCorps members, approximately 500,000 Senior Corps volunteers, and some one million Learn and Serve America participants. In addition, the budget will allow the Corporation's programs to mobilize and manage at least one million community volunteers, bringing to more than 2.5 million the total number of Americans engaged in community service
through our programs.
The President is committed to national service; he is also committed to controlling spending and reducing the deficit. That entails some hard choices for discretionary spending. The budget proposes elimination or significant reduction of 141 programs across the government, including the AmeriCorps*NCCC program within the Corporation for National and Community Service. In the FY 2007 budget, the Corporation has a reduction of 5.4 percent, which adds up to $48.5 million. More than half of that reduction comes from the proposed shut down of AmeriCorps*NCCC.
Our goal with this budget request is to sustain our ability to meet key strategic goals, continue savings through management improvements, and raise our level of service to our partners and grantees. In all of these areas, I believe we succeeded in this proposal.
Here is an overview of the Corporation's 2007 request:
For Senior Corps, this budget requests $217 million, a continuation of the enacted budget for FY 2006. There are no reductions to Senior Corps programs: RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) continues at the FY 06 enacted funding of $59.6 million; the Foster Grandparent Program will continue the 2006 funding of $110 million; and the Senior Companion Program will also hold steady at $46.9 million. The funding will support
more than 1,200 grantees and approximately 500,000 volunteers.
For AmeriCorps Grants and the National Service Trust combined, this budget requests $383.6 million. This level, when combined with the $95.4 million requested for AmeriCorps*VISTA and $13 million carried over from 2006, will support 75,000 members.
For AmeriCorps*NCCC, this budget requests only $4.9 million, which is intended to cover the cost of closing our campuses. This is a difficult decision, given the popularity of the program with our participants and partners, particularly in disaster response. However, the NCCC is costly compared to other AmeriCorps programs and was rated poorly in a recent Federal management assessment. The Corporation is committed to building up the rapid and flexible disaster recovery capacity of the NCCC within the rest of the national service portfolio.
The budget requests $34.1 million for Learn and Serve America, an eight percent decrease from the 2006 enacted budget of $37 million. We expect this budget to support the participation of about 1.2 million students in 1,500 local service-learning programs. In addition, this budget proposes $1.1 million for training and technical assistance, which will go to the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse. We are also proposing new funding of $400,000 for the Students in Service Initiative Support, which will promote the spread of service learning to more schools in America.
In this budget environment, the Corporation will be increasing its focus on management excellence, seeking cost savings and efficiencies wherever possible. In that regard, this request increases the program administration funds, largely for a one-time investment in information technology security upgrades and the consolidation of our administrative service centers, which will unfortunately mean the elimination of some staff positions. We believe, however, that these reforms will allow us to deliver a higher level of service at a lower cost over time.
The release of the President's budget is just the first step in a long journey. Next come appropriations hearings in the House and Senate later this spring, followed by committee mark-ups, floor consideration, conference committees, and more. I pledge to all of you that we will be open, transparent and quick to communicate with you as this situation develops. In that spirit, you will find our entire budget justification posted on the Corporation's website later today, after it is delivered to Congress.
CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service
My team and others are committed to fighting this decision... we will just have to wait and see what happens.