Federal Funding

Leveraging Title IV, Part A to Create Safe and Supportive Schools

Guest post by Kelly Vaillancourt Strobach

Principals have a responsibility to ensure student safety while also providing a supportive environment that is conducive to learning. This requires a careful balance of addressing physical safety while also addressing the psychological safety of students. Despite the current focus on arming teachers and other school personnel, this tactic does not improve school safety, carries significant risk, and can actually undermine the learning environment. Rather, reasonable physical security measures include: (more…)

Supplement, Not Supplant Proposed Regulations Released

On August 31, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released proposed regulations on the supplement, not supplant provisions of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as recently revised by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The USED will now consider public comments until November 7 with the goal of issuing final regulations before the end of the Obama Administration.

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ESSA Funding Recommendations Ignored as Senate Committee Passes LHHS-ED Appropriations Bill

After months of speculation, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS-ED) appropriations bill moved through subcommittee and full committee last week with bipartisan support for the first time in seven years. The LHHS-ED subcommittee had $161.9 billion to work with for FY17, which was $270 million less than the FY16 enacted levels. The funding level was outlined in the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA), which was a two-year bipartisan budget deal that prevented a government shutdown at the end of 2015 and partially restored sequestration cuts to non-defense programs. (more…)

Where the Candidates Stand on Education

NASSP is keeping its finger on the pulse of presidential politics and where the candidates stand on education. Recently, the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) hosted its 2016 Presidential Forum to shed light on the candidates’ positions on education policy issues.

CEF invited each candidate, who was encouraged to send a high-level representative to speak if he or she was unable to attend. Senior Policy Advisor Ann O’Leary represented the Clinton campaign, while Policy Analyst Donni Turner represented the Sanders campaign. Several attempts were made to have representation from the Donald Trump campaign; however, no one was able to attend. (more…)

President Obama Unveils His Final Budget

On February 9, President Obama released the final budget of his presidency. This comes days after congressional leaders announced that Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), would not be invited to testify on the FY 2017 budget. As testifying is a tradition typically afforded to the director of OMB, this likely signals a looming budget and appropriations battle in the final year of Obama’s presidency.

The three education investment themes in the president’s budget are:

1) Increasing equity and excellence (more…)

Budget Deal Passes, Education Funding Levels Still Undecided

Shortly before midnight on October 27, the White House in conjunction with House and Senate leadership announced a bipartisan two-year budget deal that would lift sequester caps for defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs, which includes federal education programs. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 would increase NDD spending by $25 billion in FY 2016 and by $15 billion for FY 2017. There was also an increase of $8 billion to the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account for both 2016 and 2017.

This legislation passed the House on October 28 by a vote of 266-177 and the Senate by a vote of 64-35 on October 30 at 3:00 a.m. after Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) filibuster attempt fell short. (more…)

Advocacy Update

Inside the Beltway

The Continuing Resolution passed in September will expire on December 11, giving Congress only about two already busy months to reach an agreement on the budget. The Continuing Resolution locked in FY16 funding levels and also resulted in $141.5 million being cut from the Department of Education alone. Appropriations Committee members have said they will need at least four weeks to draft an omnibus appropriations bill once given a top line number. With the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 expiring, Congress has been writing appropriations bills using sequestration caps.

Agreement on that top line budget number has been hard to reach for House and Senate leadership with Democrats and the White House pushing to raise the caps in a two-year budget deal for both defense and non-defense discretionary funding to get Congress through the end of President Obama’s term. (more…)

Committees Advance Education Funding Bills

The Republicans on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees continue to move forward with their goal of passing all 12 appropriations bills before the September 30 deadline, but not without a fight from the White House and Committee Democrats who have serious concerns with the proposed funding levels in the FY 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (L-HHS-ED) Appropriations bills. They believe that in order to provide robust funding for education, the sequester caps must be increased by striking a deal similar to the Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) agreement in 2013.

For the first time in six years, the House Appropriations Committee marked up the L-HHS-ED Appropriations bill, which was approved on a party-line vote of 30-21 on June 24. The bill would cut funding for the Department of Education by $2.8 billion while also eliminating 27 education programs, including the School Leadership Program, the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program, School Improvement State Grants, Investing in Innovation (i3), and Preschool Development Grants among others.

The bill does provide small increases for Title I, IDEA, Head Start, Impact Aid, and Charter School Grants to name a few. The Committee for Education Funding (CEF) created a full summary of the House L-HHS-ED bill, which can be accessed here. (more…)

The Opt-Out Movement Gains Steam

Since the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, tens of thousands of students across the country have opted out of federally mandated assessments. The opt-out movement has become a way for parents and students to protest the implementation of the Common Core State Standards as well as the overabundance of testing in schools.

One of the key provisions of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law requires school districts to maintain a 95 percent assessment participation rate. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently told states they risk losing federal funds if they fall below 95 percent compliance. This could have major implications for low-income and rural school districts that rely heavily on federal funding to hire staff, upgrade schools, and incorporate new programs. (more…)

Rural Schools Stand to Benefit from New and Pending Legislation

On April 16, President Obama signed the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act of 2015 into law. Included in this legislation is a two-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000. This law, which was enacted after rural communities were devastated by logging industry regulations, requires that 15 to 20 percent of the United States Forest Service’s county payments be used for specific purposes. These purposes include supporting or expanding rural schools, improving roads in rural communities, increasing public safety, or developing special projects on federal lands. (more…)