Congress Remains on July 4th Recess
This week the House and Senate remained on recess to commemorate the July 4th holiday, spending time in their respective states and districts. Lawmakers will return next week, July 11, for a short work period ahead of Congress’ annual August recess set to begin early next month. When lawmakers return to Capitol Hill, they will face a growing list of legislative items that they hope to address before the end of summer and the fast-approaching fall midterm elections. This includes work on expansive economic competitiveness legislation that could feature new Computer Science and STEM education programs.
As shared last week, the House Committee on Appropriations advanced funding legislation for the upcoming 2023 federal fiscal year (FY23) set to begin October 1 of this year. The bill proposes a nearly 13 percent increase in funding for the U.S. Department of Education and the programs it administers and oversees. Formal progress on federal funding legislation in the Senate has not yet started. Unless lawmakers can find consensus ahead of this October 1 deadline, the likelihood that Congress will need to pass temporary stopgap legislation to extend current FY22 funding levels, known as a continuing resolution, increases substantially, particularly in the context of the approaching midterm elections set for this November. As these efforts continue, NSBA will advocate for a robust investment in schools and districts to fully meet the funding needs of the K-12 education community in the coming federal fiscal year.
Administration Highlights Funding for Academic Recovery
On Tuesday, July 5, the U.S. Department of Education announced a series of actions to help address student learning loss as a result of the pandemic. Dubbed the National Partnership for Student Success, USED will partner with AmeriCorps and the Johns Hopkins School of Education to recruit a quarter of a million new school tutors and mentors in the coming years. Officials hope that this additional capacity will help more schools and districts accelerate student learning and reverse troubling learning loss trends seen in recent years. The effort highlights how stakeholders can leverage and otherwise make use of federal pandemic aid funding provided as part of the American Rescue Plan. More information on the effort can be found here.
School-Based Medicaid Reimbursements
As we reported last month, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act includes provisions requiring updated guidance regarding school-based Medicaid, the establishment of a school Medicaid technical assistance center, and $50 million in grants for states and school districts to implement, enhance, or expand their school Medicaid programs.
Specifically, the provisions within Section 11003 for Supporting Access to Health Care Services in School require the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education to issue guidance within one year on the delivery of services to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beneficiaries in school-based settings. The guidance should include:
- Updates to the May 2003 Medicaid School-Based Administrative Claiming Guide and the 1997 Medicaid and Schools Technical Assistance Guide;
- Clarifications that Medicaid covers services for all Medicaid-enrolled students (IEP or through free care);
- Strategies that states can take to reduce administrative burdens and simplify billing; and
- A comprehensive list of best practices for implementing school-based Medicaid.
The statute also authorizes the establishment of a technical assistance center on school-based Medicaid to assist and expand the capacity of state Medicaid agencies, local educational agencies, and school-based entities, and provides $50 million for grants to states for the purpose of implementing, enhancing, or expanding assistance through school-based entities under Medicaid or CHIP. We expect more details regarding this upcoming guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services soon.
The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education invited applications for the following programs:
- Expanding Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Program (CSP) – Grants to State Entities (State Entity) – Authorized under Title IV, Part C of the ESEA, as amended by ESSA, the state entity grant competition awards grants to state entities – stat entities must then award subgrants to eligible applicants in order to open new charter schools and replicate and expand high-quality charter schools. These funds may also be used for technical assistance and grant administration. The estimated available funds for this program total $73,000,000, contingent upon the availability of funds. Applications are due by August 5, 2022, and further information is available here.
- Expanding Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Program (CSP) – Grants to Charter School Developers for the Opening of New Charter Schools and for the Replication and Expansion of HighQuality Charter Schools (Developer Grants) – The CSP Developer Grants focus on enabling charter school developers to open and operate new or replicated charter schools or to expand high-quality charter schools in states that do not have a CSP State Entity grant (see above). The one competitive preference priority for this grant program is as follows: Promoting High-Quality Educator- and Community-Centered Charter Schools to Support Underserved Students. The estimated available funds for this program total $4,000,000, contingent upon the availability of funds and quality of applications. Applications are due by August 5, 2022, and further information is available here.
ESSA State Plan Amendments
The U.S. Department of Education published ESSA consolidated state plan amendments that states submitted using the COVID-19 State Plan Addendum for the 2021-2022 school year. The Department recently approved the following state plan addendums:
- Alabama (approval letter)
- Delaware (approval letter)
- Oregon (approval letter)
- Virginia (approval letter)
- Washington (approval letter)
- Courtesy of NSBA's Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Update - Week of July 8, 2022