March 23, 2018

(ADVOCACY TOOLS, ED FUNDING) Permanent link

AASA Analysis and Response to FY18 Omnibus Bill

AASA's two-page summary provides an overall view of the federal budget as well as program-specific funding levels for education funding. This bill provides funding for federal fiscal year 2018 (FY18), and those dollars will be in your schools in the 2018-19 school year.

Read AASA's response to the deal: Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. House and Senate’s approval of a $1.3 trillion funding bill, avoided a government shutdown.

“AASA applauds Congress for completing its federal appropriations work for federal fiscal year 2018 (FY18). Fresh off of the first-ever Public Schools Week, the bill and its investments in public education are a step in the right direction toward supporting efforts to ensure every parent and student has access to a high-quality public school. We are optimistic that the level of funding provided in FY18 will be a baseline of support for our nation’s public schools and the students they serve, and that future funding conversation will build on this critical investment. By increasing investment in foundational federal education programs—including ESSA Title I and IDEA—as well as critical complementary programs like Impact Aid, Perkins Career and Technical Education and ESSA Title IV—Congress affirms its commitment to our nation’s public school students and the importance of ensuring that our students have access to rich, equitable educational opportunities.”

March 22, 2018

(ESEA, IDEA, PERKINS, RURAL EDUCATION, SCHOOL CHOICE AND VOUCHERS, ED FUNDING) Permanent link

AASA Supports FY18 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Earlier today, AASA sent a letter to Capitol Hill supporting the FY18 omnibus appropriations bill. This is the bill that provides the federal funding that will be in public schools in the 2018-19 school year. This is a vote that comes nearly six months after FY18 started, and the vote follows two federal shutdowns. Overall, the bill makes important increased investments in programs that support public schools. We’ll be sending our full analysis later today.

Read our letter.

March 13, 2018

 Permanent link

AASA Weighs in on STOP School Violence Act

AASA is deeply disappointed that we once again find ourselves, our nation, our schools, our students and our communities responding to yet another school shooting and recurring concerns about student safety while at school. We applaud Congress’ efforts to address the important issue of school and student safety, and today sent a letter to offices on Capitol Hill about an important bill that will be voted on tomorrow in the House of Representatives: The Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act of 2018. This legislation is designed to fund school security improvements and invest in early intervention and prevention programs to stop school violence before it happens. 

We are pleased to see both the Senate and the House come together in a bipartisan manner to address this important topic and we urge Congress to continue to work together on this important legislation, which must be the first and not only, to address the physical safety of our students while in schools. However, we have several concerns with the STOP School Violence Act as written and hope that both chambers make changes to the text needed to garner AASA's support. You can read our letter here

 

March 12, 2018

(ADVOCACY TOOLS, ED FUNDING) Permanent link

New FY18 Letter Urges Investment in Programs that Promote Equity

As Congress (hopefully!) reaches the end of its federal fiscal year 2018 (FY18) funding conversations, AASA joined a handful of other national education organizations to urge Congress to prioritize critical program that promote equity and support students most in need--Title I, IDEA and Title II--to help ensure all students have access to a high-quality education. 

AASA was joined by 

 

  • National Association of Elementary School Principals
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals
  • National Education ASsociation
  • National PTA
  • National School Boards Association

Read the full letter here.

 

March 8, 2018

(IDEA, ADVOCACY TOOLS, ED FUNDING) Permanent link

Coalition of National Education Organizations Supports Increased Funding for IDEA in FY18 Package

AASA joined 15 other national education organizations in a joint letter to Congress urging them to increase investment in IDEA as part of the final FY18 appropriations package.

"On behalf of 16 associations, a coalition of education organizations dedicated to fulfilling the funding promise for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), I share our joint letter urging Congress to provide a significant increase in funding for IDEA as part of a fair and proportional allocation for the final FY18 LHHS-Education appropriations bill.

"In light of Congress' recent actions to raise the funding caps for both defense and non-defense discretionary programs, which includes IDEA, it is critical Congress act to alleviate the pressure created by its unfunded mandate. The chronic underfunding of IDEA by the federal government places an additional funding burden on states, local school districts, and taxpayers to pay for needed services. This often means using local budget dollars to cover the federal shortfall, shortchanging other school programs that are also beneficial to students with disabilities.

"In December 2017, AASA surveyed school superintendents across the nation and included a question that asked what percentage of their local budget is being used to cover federal mandates related to special education. Just 10% of respondents indicated that it was less than 10% of total spending, compared to 48.2% of respondents who indicated they used 10-20% of total spending to cover the federal IDEA shortfall, 25.6% reporting 20-30%; and 8.5% reporting they used 30-40% .

"IDEA is currently funded at $12 billion. This level funding equates to approximately 15 percent of what is historically considered the additional cost of educating students with disabilities, less than half of the 40 percent that was the federal government's original commitment to students with disabilities. We support prioritized and robust investment in IDEA, without negatively impacting funding for other education programs, and urge Congress to ensure a significant increase for IDEA in the final FY18 appropriations statute and use that appropriately adjusted funding level as the basis for further increased investment in FY19."

You can read the full letter here.

Groups signing the letter: 

 

  • AASA, The School Superintendents Association
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • Association of Educational Service Agencies
  • Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents 
  • Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO)
  • Council for Exceptional Children
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals
  • National Association of State Directors of Special Education
  • National Center for Learning Disabilities
  • National Education Association
  • National PTA
  • National Rural Education Advocacy Consortium
  • National Rural Education Association
  • National School Boards Association  

 

March 2, 2018

(ADVOCACY TOOLS, RESEARCH, PUBLICATIONS AND TOOLKITS) Permanent link

AASA Joins Groups in Amicus on South Dakota v. Wayfair Case

AASA was pleased to sign on to an amicus brief, filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and other national organizations, one of the most important cases of the organization's 35-year tenure:  South Dakota v. Wayfair.  In this case South Dakota is asking the Supreme Court to rule that states and local governments may require retailers with no in-state physical presence to collect sales tax. Ruling this way will require the Supreme Court to overturn long-standing precedent.   

SPLC provided background on the case, which we are happy to share here:

In 1967 in National Bellas Hess  v. Department of Revenue of Illinois, the Supreme Court held that per its Commerce Clause jurisprudence, states and local governments cannot require businesses to collect sales tax unless the business has a physical presence in the state.

Twenty-five years later in Quill v. North Dakota (1992), the Supreme Court reaffirmed the physical presence requirement but admitted that “contemporary Commerce Clause jurisprudence might not dictate the same result” as the Court had reached in Bellas Hess.

Customers buying from remote sellers still owe sale tax but they rarely pay it when the remote seller does not collect it. Congress has the authority to overrule Bellas Hess and Quill but has thus far not done so. 

In March 2015 Justice Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion stating that the “legal system should find an appropriate case for this Court to reexamine Quill.” Justice Kennedy criticized Quill in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl for many of the same reasons the SLLC stated in its amicus brief in that case. Specifically, internet sales have risen astronomically since 1992 and states and local governments are unable to collect most taxes due on sales from out-of-state vendors. 

Following the Kennedy opinion a number of state legislatures passed laws requiring remote vendors to collect sales tax in clear violation of Quill. South Dakota’s law was the first ready for Supreme Court review. It requires out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax if they annually conduct $100,000 worth of business or 200 separate transactions in South Dakota. 

The SLLC amicus brief points out that states and local governments lost an estimated $26 billion in sales tax revenue in 2015 because they were unable to collect owed taxes. The brief encourages the Court to overturn Quill. If the Court decides to replace the physical presence requirement the SLLC encourages the Court to adopt an economic nexus requirement—like the one the South Dakota legislature adopted.  

The Supreme Court will hear oral argument in this case on April 17. It will issue an opinion by the end of June.  

To learn more about the case listen to this podcast.

 

March 1, 2018(1)

(RURAL EDUCATION, ADVOCACY TOOLS, ED FUNDING) Permanent link

AASA Urges Congress to Fund Secure Rural Schools in FY18 Appropriations Package

AASA sent a letter to House and Senate leadership, and the full Congress, urging them to include funding for the Secure Rural Schools/Forest Counties program in the final FY18 appropriations.

We were disappointed that when Congress did provide additional hurricane aid and funded other programs, they did not fund Secure Rural Schools.  Congress made a longstanding commitment to rural students and communities when it passed and extended Secure Rural Schools and Communities Self Determination Act of 2000.  The commitment was upheld until Congress stopped funding SRS after FY15.  Secure Rural Schools funds essential education, transportation and public safety programs critical to rural forest counties, communities and schools. Rural communities rely on SRS to offset lost tax revenue from lands transferred to federal ownership.  Without SRS the lost tax revenue remains unavailable without economic alternatives even as the lands remain federally owned.  In the meantime, Congress fails to fund SRS and is unable to adopt forest management policies to help restore economic stability in the rural forest communities. 

 When Congress failed to adequately fund the program, rural counties found themselves facing or absorbing deep, damaging cuts, as the SRS program was reverted to a timber receipt funding formula that originated more than 100 years ag. Absent adequate SRS support, these rural communities are forced to cut programs supporting essential safety, fire, police, road and bridge, community and education services. As Congress completes its final negotiations on a FY18 Omnibus Appropriations package, it is critically important the package include SRS funding. Our full letter is here.

 

March 1, 2018

(ED FUNDING) Permanent link

USED Releases Details on Federal Assistance for Schools and Students Impacted by Hurricanes and Wildfires

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the availability of new Federal assistance for schools, school districts, and students who were impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the 2017 California wildfires. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 authorizes an additional $2.7 billion to support K-12 school districts and schools as well as institutions of higher education (IHEs) with post-emergency recovery. (Read the full press release.) The following programs will be funded through the new Federal assistance announced: 

 

  1. Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations (Restart): Under this program, the Department is authorized to award funds to eligible State educational agencies (SEAs), including those of Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas and U.S. Virgin Islands. These SEAs, in turn, will provide assistance or services to local educational agencies (LEAs), including charter schools, and private schools to help defray expenses related to the restart of operations in, the reopening of, and the re-enrollment of students in elementary and secondary schools that serve an area affected by a covered disaster or emergency. 
  2. Emergency Impact Aid for Displaced Students: Under this program, the Department will award Emergency Impact Aid funding to SEAs, which, in turn, will provide assistance to LEAs for the cost of educating students enrolled in public schools, including charter schools, and private schools, who were displaced by the hurricanes during the school year 2017-2018 and California wildfires in 2017. Congress appropriated a combined amount of approximately $2.5 billion for both the Restart and Emergency Impact Aid for Displaced Student programs. The amounts awarded under each program will be based on demand and specific data received from eligible applicants. 
  3. Assistance for Homeless Children and Youth: Congress appropriated $25 million for additional grants to SEAs for LEAs to address the needs of homeless students displaced by the covered disasters and emergencies. The Department anticipates using data on displaced public school students collected under the Emergency Impact Aid program to make allocations to SEAs under the Assistance for Homeless Children and Youths program. SEAs will award subgrants to LEAs on the basis of demonstrated need. LEAs must use the funds awarded under this program to support activities that are allowable under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. 
  4. Emergency Assistance to Institutions of Higher Education: Congress appropriated $100 million for this program, which will provide emergency assistance to IHEs and their students in areas directly affected by the covered disasters or emergencies, for activities authorized under the Higher Education Act of 1965. 
  5. Defraying Costs of Enrolling Displaced Students in Higher Education: Congress appropriated $75 million for this program, which will provide payments to IHEs to help defray the unexpected expenses associated with enrolling displaced students from IHEs directly affected by a covered disaster or emergency, in accordance with criteria to be established and made publicly available. Stay tuned for additional information from the U.S. Department of Education, including the application packages and technical assistance, on its "Disaster Relief" webpage at https://www.ed.gov/disasterrelief

 

For additional information on the programs for K-12 schools and school districts, please contact David Esquith, Director, Office of Safe and Healthy Students, at David.Esquith@ed.gov. For additional information on the programs for IHEs, please contact Adam Kissel, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs, Office of Postsecondary Education, at Adam.Kissel@ed.gov