Congress Approves Final U.S. Department of Education Budget for Fiscal Year 2020
With only days remaining on the 2019 legislative calendar, congressional leaders and the White House finalized work on a massive omnibus spending bill that will fund the U.S. Department of Education and other agencies through the end of the fiscal year. The bill provides a $1.3 billion increase for education, including a $450 million increase for ESSA Title I and a $410 million increase for the IDEA State Grants program. This welcome development will enable federal leaders to begin the fiscal year 2021 appropriations process on time, assuming the White House submits the president’s annual spending request to Congress in February, as required by the Budget Act. NSBA is pleased by Congress’s decision to increase the overall education budget and especially welcomes the additional funding provided for IDEA Part B and C but we will continue to advocate for more resources and necessary assistance. Early in 2020, we plan to ask Congress to build on these funding increases for the next fiscal year.
Congress and the White House Approve FAFSA Simplification Law
Congress and President Trump completed work this week on a new law designed to simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid that 20 million families complete each year to qualify for federal student aid. Under the law, the IRS will securely send tax information to the Department of Education, eliminating the need for families to resubmit tax information they have already provided to the federal government for the purpose of completing the FAFSA. This change should make it easier for high school students and their families to access financial aid for college. The new law also permanently reauthorizes and provides $255 million in annual mandatory funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions.
U.S. Department of Education Announces Disaster Relief for Schools
This week, the U.S. Department of Education announced $155 million in new federal assistance for schools and students in Florida, Texas, California, North Carolina, Ohio, Mississippi, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Maryland, Nebraska, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, along with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Public School System. The grant funds “will be used to aid a variety of education-related disaster recovery efforts. Funds can be used for activities such as mental health and safety programs for students and staff, replacing instructional materials lost during storms, additional transportation costs for students, faculty and staff salaries, and debris removal and mold mitigation from schools.” The funding is from three grant programs within the department’s Disaster Recovery Unit in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Higher Education division of the Office of Postsecondary Education.
H.R.5463 To amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to require a study of the time and duration of school lunch periods, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep. Schrier, Kim [D-WA-8]
S.3096 A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize the Director of the Centers for Disease Control Prevention to develop a program to prevent the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems among students in middle and high schools, to award grants to State and local health agencies to implement such program, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Sen. Durbin, Richard J. [D-IL]
- Courtesy of NSBA's Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Update - Week of December 20, 2019