October 18, 2021

September 8, 2021

This week the House Committee on Education and Labor will mark up its portion of the Build Back Better Act, a portion of the $3.5 trillion bill that Democrats are pushing using a mechanism known as budget reconciliation that only requires the support of 50 Senators.

There is much to like in the House proposal, and we are hopeful to see the Senate move quickly to support these provisions as they move forward next week in determining determine whether the House bill numbers will work for the Senate. 

Here’s what superintendents should know:

  • $82 billion in direct aid to states/district to rebuild America’s schools. There is a 10% match requirement for States. If a State applies for the funding, the Title I formula is used to distribute the funds. Every state that participates must collect a “local facilities master plan” from each LEA as well as data to support implementation of the State school facilities database. States will prioritize funding to districts that serve the highest numbers or percentages of Title I students or the most limited capacity to raise funds for the long-term improvement of public-school facilities.
  • $35 billion for school nutrition programs. The bill would make more schools eligible for CEP by lowering the Identified Student Percentage eligibility threshold from 40 to 25 percent and make it more financially viable by increasing the multiplier that determines the amount of federal reimbursement a school receives from 1.6 to 2.5. It would also give states the option to implement the Community Eligibility Provision statewide, allowing all students in the state to receive school breakfast and lunch at no charge. It would allow Children who participate in Medicaid to be certified for free or reduced-price school meals based on their household income. It would also Extend Summer EBT nationwide for students who receive free or reduced-price school meals. 
  • $5 billion for youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs.
  • $400 million for districts to partner with higher education institutions to implement grow-your-own programs and teacher residencies to address teacher shortages.
  • "Such sums as necessary" for expanding universal pre-K programs. States would apply for grants and target subgrants toward interested LEAs, ESAs and other child care providers located in high-poverty communities or in areas with limited early learning programs to provide children with pre-K opportunities. LEAs would not be mandated to provide pre-K programs but could partner with other child care and private partners to compete for grants to start or expand pre-K programs.  

Now, none of these numbers are final. It will take effort on everyone’s part (including yours!) to make sure that these funding levels are accepted by the Senate. It’s especially imperative to participate in our call-to-action next week on school infrastructure funding. Stay tuned for more details!