Congress on Recess with Budget Negotiations Ahead in September
Legislators will spend the next two weeks working outside Washington, but they face a busy schedule when Congress reconvenes on September 6. The federal fiscal year ends on September 30, so legislators will only have a brief window to complete work on the fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget for the U.S. Department of Education (USED) and other agencies. Should lawmakers fail to come to an agreement during this time, they will most likely pass a temporary funding bill to continue government operations known as a continuing resolution (CR). Given that the Senate has not yet made meaningful progress on the fiscal year 2023 budget, NSBA expects Congress to approve a CR that provides legislators until sometime after the November elections to make final decisions about spending levels for FY23. When Congress returns, NSBA will continue championing increased funding for the major K-12 formula programs, including ESEA Title I and IDEA Parts B and C, and other school board member federal funding priorities.
Agencies Continuing Implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a report this week about the future of the Universal Service Fund, including the E-rate program which helps eligible schools and libraries acquire high speed broadband connections. Congress required this report as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) which was approved last year. Legislators will use the report to make decisions about future efforts to close broadband gaps, including for students and teachers. Separately, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced that all states and territories submitted applications for initial planning funds as part of the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, which was also created by the IIJA. NSBA supported passage of the BEAD program, which will provide critical resources for extending broadband infrastructure to households, especially in rural and other high-cost areas.
Office of Education Technology Announces Status of Technology Plan Update
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) invited proposals for working with the office to develop a new National Education Technology Plan. OET has not yet named its partner in that work, but this week the office said that once a contract is awarded and work begins, the plan will take 12-18 months to complete. The National Education Technology Plan has served as a helpful connectivity and device resource for school districts and NSBA intends to engage the office in a discussion about how to ensure the new plan meets the needs of school board members.
- Courtesy of NSBA's Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Update - Week of August 19, 2022