February 12, 2020(1)

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AASA Responds to President’s FY21 Budget Proposal

Earlier this week, the president released his budget proposal for federal fiscal year 20201 (FY21 runs from Oct 1 2020 through September 30, 2021; FY21 dollars will be in school for the 21-22 school year). The budget continues his trend of introducing federal budget proposals that fall short of the simple willingness and ability to prioritize support for strengthening and supporting our nation’s public schools and the students they serve.  AASA remains concerned about his chronic lack of support and funding for programs that are fundamental to supporting students and children. The FY21 budget proposal continues to prioritize privatization, at the direct expense of the nation’s public schools and the 50 million students they serve every day. The proposal’s FY21 education details would fund USED at $66.6 billion (A cut of $5.6 billion, or 7.8%). Quick summary:

  • One of the pillars of the FY21 proposal would consolidate 29 programs within the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into one large, single block grant, funded at $19.4 billion (a cut of $4.7 billion from the current funding levels of the programs to be consolidated).
  • The budget increases funding for IDEA state grants by $100 million (0.8%). This brings the federal commitment to fully fund IDEA (by funding 40% of the additional costs of educating students with special needs) to just 13%, less than half of their authorized amount.
  • The budget increases funding for Career and Technical Education by $763 million.
  • The budget includes $5 billion for annual federal tax credits to support education privatization, such as vouchers.
  • The budget for the US Department of Agriculture includes a proposal to restrict participating in the Community Eligibility Programs. CEP currently allows schools and districts with high enrolments of students who quality for free/reduced priced meals to provide free meals to all students. The budget proposal would restrict participation by only allowing individual schools where at least 40% of students qualify for the meal programs. 

Read our full analysis here, as well as the statement from AASA executive director Dan Domenech. 

February 12, 2020

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AASA Leads Allied Organization Letter on EPA's proposed LCR

On February 12, 2020, AASA submitted an allied organization letter - with 14 other groups - on the EPA's proposed changes to the Lead and Copper Rule. You can view this letter here.

As we've highlighted in our previous blog posts, the proposed reg, would for the first time, require water utility companies to test for the prevalence of lead in drinking water at schools and childcare facilities.

The comment period on the proposed rule is set to close tonight at midnight ET. AASA was proud to lead this effort and elevate the voice of school system leaders on this topic. That said, we need all hands on deck to let the EPA know that if the federal government is mandating these tests, then they also need to create federal funding streams for districts to remediate lead once it's found. As such, we urge you to let your voice be heard on this issue before the comment period ends tonight. You can find directions on how to submit comments on this proposal – as well as a filling template – by clicking here.