Congress Aims to Pass Defense Supplemental without New Pandemic Aid
The House and the Senate were in session this week and lawmakers continued to negotiate a supplemental funding package for the war in Ukraine. Early on in this process, Democrats hoped to attach additional emergency pandemic aid and an extension of nutrition program waivers but were unsuccessful. Earlier in the week the House passed a standalone $40 billion supplemental aid package only for the crisis in Ukraine. The Senate is now considering the House measure but progress has been stalled as a result of objections from Senator Paul (R-KY). We expect, however, that Senate will approve the bill as early as next week.
Once enacted, NSBA’s advocacy team anticipates that lawmakers will turn attention back to the fiscal year 2023 (FY23) appropriations process which is where education programs, like the Every Student Succeeds Act, derive funding. As these efforts unfold, NSBA will advocate for robust funding to meet the K-12 education community’s significant funding needs.
Education Department Announces Plans to Amend Section 504
Late last week, May 6, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced that it intends to promulgate new regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Currently Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability for programs and initiatives funded with federal dollars. These regulations apply to schools and postsecondary institutions that receive federal grants as part of their operations. USED plans to gather public input from a wide variety of stakeholders to strengthen these regulations in an effort to further protect the rights of students with disabilities.
Outreach for the Affordable Connectivity Program
Last week, the Administration, Members of Congress, and about 20 Internet service providers announced outreach efforts for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) authorized within the bipartisan infrastructure law last November. Under the ACP, eligible families/households can receive free high-speed Internet access of 100 megabytes per second to help close the homework gap, accommodate online learning, telemedicine, and other services for families.
The ACP provides families with a $30 per month subsidy that covers the cost of the Internet service through the program each month. The program also authorizes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reimburse Internet service providers up to $100 per device (such as a laptop) that is provided to participating households. Families can qualify for the ACP through their participation in other federal programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, and Pell grants.
To determine eligibility, households may access details at www.getinternet.gov or www.affordableconnectivity.gov. According to the FCC, between 40 and 50 million households are eligible for the ACP and about 11 million families have already signed up to participate. A fact sheet is available online at https://www.fcc.gov/acp.
Resources on Expanding Medicaid-Funded School Health Services
Given the growing concern about children’s health, particularly mental health, Healthy Schools Campaign is releasing new and updated guidance to help schools expand Medicaid-funded school health services - including an interactive map and detailed information about Medicaid-eligible services and school nursing and behavioral health personnel in all 50 states and D.C.
Additional resources include a report on school reimbursement challenges and an updated school Medicaid guide designed to help states and school districts create sustainable funding streams to meet student health needs. Visit Healthy Students, Promising Futures to learn more.
USED published notice on a discretionary grant program for the Office of Postsecondary Education
Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions Program – The Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions Program seeks to support institutions of higher education in serving Native American students and low-income individuals. There are two competitive preference priorities for this discretionary grant application: (1) Meeting Student Social, Emotional, and Academic Needs; and (2) Increasing Postsecondary Education Access, Affordability, Completion, and Post-Enrollment Success. The estimated available funds for this program total $3,200,000, contingent upon the availability of funds and quality of applications. Applications are due by July 11, 2022, and further information is available here.
ESSA State Plan Amendments
The U.S. Department of Education is now reviewing ESSA consolidated state plan amendments that are submitted using the COVID-19 State Plan Addendum for the 2021-2022 school year. The following state plan addendums have now been approved:
- Arkansas (approval letter)
- Massachusetts (approval letter)
- Montana (approval letter)
- New Jersey (approval letter)
- North Carolina (approval letter)
- North Dakota (approval letter)
- South Dakota (approval letter)
- Utah (approval letter)
- Wisconsin (approval letter)
- H.R.7729 To require the student loan ombudsman of the Department of Education to provide student loan data to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep. Porter, Katie [D-CA-45]
- H.R.7717 To establish and strengthen projects that defray the cost of related instruction associated with pre-apprenticeship and qualified apprenticeship programs, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep. DeLauro, Rosa L. [D-CT-3]
- H.R.7709 To authorize programs to provide college scholarships and educational support to women and girls who have escaped Afghanistan and come to the United States, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep. Maloney, Carolyn B. [D-NY-12]
- H.R.5129 Community Services Block Grant Modernization Act of 2022 Sponsor: Rep. Bonamici, Suzanne [D-OR-1]
- S.4162 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act Sponsor: Sen. Bennet, Michael F. [D-CO]
Labor/Management Partnership Releases Guidebook on Collaboration
NSBA is a member of the National Labor-Management Partnership (NLMP), which includes several national organizations representing a diverse contingent of education stakeholders, including teachers, principals, superintendents, and many more. The NLMP released the newest edition of Collaborating for Student Success: A Comprehensive Guide for Increasing Shared Decision-Making Through Lasting Partnerships.
NSBA Executive Director and CEO John Heim called Collaborating for Student Success an “invaluable roadmap for why—and how—everyone with a stake in student learning can work together to build trust, create buy-in for shared education goals, and build a system that supports collaboration.” Heim added that it is a “must-have resource for school board members, administrators, teachers, parents, students, community members, and anyone else looking to increase student learning and improve outcomes for students.”
Research shows that everyone is stronger through authentic collaboration: student outcomes improve, teacher retention increases, and shared decision-making leads to increased job satisfaction and improved working environments for everyone involved. This guidebook offers information and practical tools for educators to get started building successful, collaborative, sustainable partnerships today, wherever they are, no matter their current environment.
Download your free copy today.
- Courtesy of NSBA's Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Update - Week of May 13, 2022