Noelle EllersonSasha Pudelski
FCCs October point of order adjusted $2.25 billion funding cap to inflation and added dark-fiber to the eligible services list.Continue to push for an increase for the cap, given ever increasing demand and rising costsExemption from Anti-Deficiency Act:Requires USAC to have enough money to pay funding commitments; without ADA, enforcement of this policy means LEAs may not receive funds, tightening budgetsWeve been operating under a series of one-year waiversS 297 would provide a permanent exemption
EETT/Title II Part D
FY11 CR eliminates Enhancing Education Through TechnologyPres. FY12 budget proposal calls for Education Technology Office in Department. Skeptical of what the office would actually mean at the local levelSen. Bingaman introduced the ATTAIN Act (S 1178), which allows for EETT-type program ($300 m trigger)
S.567 sponsored Sen. Kent Conrad (R-ND)/ Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced in MarchBill contains the following changesTransition to new locale codesAllow districts to choose between RLIS and SRSA fundingSwitch the eligibility poverty measure Shift in the sliding formula from $20,000 to $25,000 and $60,000 to $80,000.
NEW legislation introduced to create an Office of Rural Education Policy in the Department of Education. Requires Department to establish and maintain a clearinghouse on best practices and research specific to the needs of rural schools, as well produce an annual report on the condition of rural education that would be submitted to Congress. The office is also charged with greater coordination of federal department/agency programs that relate to rural schools. Additionally, the legislation requires that whenever the Department of Education promulgates new rules and regulations, the Department must explicitly describe how these rules and regulations would affect rural schools and communities.
The Safe Schools Improvement Act
Requires LEAs to (1) include clear prohibitions against bullying and harassment within their discipline policies; (2) establish and monitor performance indicators for incidents of bullying and harassment; and (3) establish grievance procedures students, parents, and educators can use to redress such conduct.SSIA would also direct LEAs to notify parents, students, and educators annually on: (1) the bullying and harassment prohibited by their discipline policies, (2) the numbers and nature of bullying and harassment incidents for each of their schools, and (3) grievance procedures for redressing such conduct.
46 states already require schools to have bullying policies and many define bullying and cyber-bullyingUnfunded mandateNot the most effective way for the federal government to support schools anti-bullying effortsFederal overreach
The Federal government should fund innovative programs and initiatives to prevent and respond to bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and other school violence incidents through school-wide prevention and early intervention programs that are evidence-based and reflect cultural and linguistic competencies. All funding for bullying prevention activities should be structured in a manner that makes resources available to all states and districts. In addition to programs that specifically address bullying and cyberbullying awareness, prevention, and intervention, federal agencies should provide schools with the flexibility to use funds for programming in the area of social and emotional learning, student threat assessment, mental health promotion, prevention, early intervention, and School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports.Federal programs should include funding for training school administrators, school resource officers, faculty, students, all staff in contact with the student population, and families.
Waiting a NRPM that would rescind the parental consent regulation for Medicaid reimbursementEfforts have begun to lobby for local MOE waiver for IDEA spending modeled on state waiverIs your district in danger of not meeting MOE this year? Talk to me and talk about it on the Hill!
The Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA)
Introduced in both House and Senate every Democrat on the HELP Committee is a co-sponsor SNDA prohibits public school students from being excluded from participating in, or subject to discrimination under, any federally-assisted educational program on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or that of their associates. The SNDA is closely modeled after title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and provides legal recourse to redress such discrimination.Considers harassment to be a form of discrimination Allows an aggrieved individual to take legal action against the school district and recover reasonable attorney's fees should they prevail. Allows the federal government to deny school districts federal funds if they are found to be in violation of any part of the legislation.
Granting individual students a private right of action against a school system creates new costs and administrative structures and is a slower path to preventing discrimination than training or professional development. While AASA does not take a stand on whether a students sexual orientation or gender identity should be protected categories under law, we are committed to providing a safe and healthy school climate where all students feel safe and able to learn.
Noelle Ellerson, [email protected]
Sasha Pudelski [email protected]
***Great. Thank you Noelle. In the next 15 minutes, I hope to run through five other legislative priorities that AASA has for this year. I encourage you to speak about any and all of these when you are on the Hill tomorrow. The first issue is the reauthorization of the Rural Education Achievement Program or REAP. AASA was one of the authors of the REAP bill and it was first enacted as part of NCLB in 2001. Our goal is to have it re-authorized and included into whatever iteration of ESEA happens this year or in the future as it the only source of federal funding to aid rural school districts in overcoming financial inequality caused by geographic isolation. The REAP program is divided into two parts: the small and rural schools program, and the rural low income schools program. REAP has traditionally received around $175 million in appropriations each year. The bill is identical to the version introduced in the 111th Congress, and includes four changes:
The first proposed change is the transition to new locale codes. Currently, eligibility for the Small and Rural Schools Achievement Program is restricted to school districts located within locale codes 7 and 8, the rural designations. These codes will transition to 41, 42 and 43 (rural fringe, rural distant and rural remote) under the new system and include 32 and 33 (remote town and distant town). District eligibility under the new codes should be similar to current law, although there is no way to ensure an absolute match between old and new locale codes.
Second, we want to Allow districts eligible under both REAP programs to receive an award under RLIS: Under current law, if an LEA is eligible for both programs, they are automatically enrolled under SRSA. This was done to prevent double dipping. Unfortunately, some schools eligible for SRSA do not receive a significant financial award due to their current levels of federal funding. REAP reauthorization will allow districts eligible for both programs but not receiving a significant award to receive funding under RLIS. This will affect roughly 200 LEAs across the nation.
Third, the bill would switch the eligibility poverty measure from 20 percent Census poverty to 40 percent free- and reduced-price lunch for those districts receiving funds under the RLIS. Census poverty is an inaccurate measure of poverty for school districts, especially in areas where LEA borders are not contiguous with county borders. Further, the numerous reports have questioned the accuracy of the census poverty measure for any populations below 20,000 people, the size of the communities REAP seeks to target.
Adjust the sliding formula from the current $20,000 to $60,000 to a new scale of $25,000 to $80,000 when REAP is appropriated $200 million or more by Congress: This shift acknowledges changing costs since the programs initial introduction. *The next piece of legislation Im going to discuss is closely connected to the REAP program because it all serves to benefit rural schools in America. However, unlike REAP, this is the first year it has been introduced and it already has 16 co-sponsors in the Senate. The bill is called the Office of Rural Education Policy Act and as the name implies, it would create an office of Rural Ed Policy within the Department of Education. This bill is very short and straighforward and does the following three things.First, it requires the Department to establish and maintain a clearinghouse on best practices and research specific to the needs of rural schools, as well produce an annual report on the condition of rural education that would be submitted to Congress. Second, it requires the Department to improve its coordination efforts and ensure they are working with other agencies to ensure greater coordination of programs that would impact rural schools.Finally, and most importantly, it requires that that whenever the Department of Education promulgates new rules and regulations, the Department must explicitly describe how these rules and regulations would affect rural schools and communities. I encourage you to mention this bill when meeting with your Senators as well as to discuss the possibility of having a House companion bill.
*Now, onto a topic that I