The Advocate January 2024: What You Can Expect This Year

January 05, 2024

Happy New Year! As we head into 2024 and a major election year, this month’s edition of The Advocate is a summary of everything that could impact K-12 leaders in the year ahead. While by no means an exhaustive list, this is our attempt to peer into our cloudy crystal ball and share what we expect to happen in year four of the Biden Administration and to ask what could happen in any increasingly polarizing, chaotic Congress.

What we anticipate from the Biden Administration in 2024:

  • Late Liquidation Template for American Rescue Plan funding, so districts that need additional time to liquidate funding for projects and services paid for by ARP funds have the ability to apply to the State to request additional time.
  • IDEA Medicaid Final Rule to be released by ED changing the requirements to obtain parental consent before billing for Medicaid reimbursable services for students with disabilities.
  • Title IX Final Rule is expected in March--this would touch on both sexual harassment/discrimination and as well as athletics.
  • Final EPA regulations requiring Community Water Systems to test for lead in elementary schools at least once every five years.
  • New FTC regulations on the Children Online Privacy Protection Act.
  • FCC implementation of the “Learn Without Limits” Initiative. Wifi on buses through e-rate will be allowed starting in the 2024 application window. A proposal to expand e-rate for hotspots for students is out and will likely be finalized this year.
  • Department of Labor’s Final Rule on the Fair Labor Standards Act to increase the salary threshold for employees who are overtime exempt.
  • USDA Final Rule on Updates to Child Nutrition Standards expected in the first quarter of 2024.
  • Initial implementation of Summer EBT - The January 1 deadline for participation has passed and 33 states have opted-in. This is the first time the program will be implemented on a large scale. Schools will play a role in supporting enrollment in the program but USDA is working to place the majority of the responsibility on states.

Although Congress didn’t make a lot of progress on appropriations, there was a considerable committee action before Congress left for the holidays.

  • Will Congress decide funding levels for FY24? Will they decide before the February 2 deadline? Will we be operating under a yearlong Continuing Resolution resulting in an across-the-board 1% cut to all ED programs?
  • Will bipartisan student data privacy legislation such as the Kids Online Safety Act move forward in the Senate?
  • Will the bipartisan reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) move out of the House and will the Senate start from scratch or begin to work off the House legislation? On December 12, the House Education and the Workforce Committee moved their bipartisan proposal of WIOA, A Stronger Workforce for America Act (H.R. 6585). It is unclear how or if the Senate will move on this bill if the House is able to successfully pass it.
  • Will the House begin to work on a reauthorization of the Education Sciences Reform Act? The Senate HELP Committee passed its reauthorized version out of Committee, known as the Advancing Research in Education Act (S. 3392).
  • Will the Secure Rural Schools Program be reauthorized? On December 14, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources moved a bill forward that would extend the program through FY26, a critical first step.
  • How will the 2024 election impact Congressional priorities and the FY25 appropriations process?

 We look forward to what will be another interesting year in Washington D.C. We will continue to keep you updated on any actions that will impact school districts here on The Leading Edge blog. Stay tuned for opportunities to engage with your members of Congress and various agencies on issues important to K-12 education.