April 28, 2017

 Permanent link

Take Action: Save Medicaid in Schools

 The House is expected to begin debate on AHCA Wednesday (5/3). Have you done everything you can to save Medicaid in schools? If not, here's what to do: 

Calls, calls, calls. Make them to the members of Congress we are targeting below. 
 
Here is the script for your call: 
As a constituent and a superintendent, I oppose the passage of the American Health Care Act. Rather than close the gap and eliminate the rate of uninsured children in America, the current proposal will ration the health care America’s most vulnerable children receive and undermine the ability of districts to meet the educational needs of students with disabilities and students in poverty. 
Children represent 46% of all Medicaid beneficiaries yet represent only 19% of the costs. Currently, 4-5 billion dollars flow to school districts every year, so they can make sure students with disabilities who need the help of therapists can learn and that students who can’t get to a doctor regularly can receive the basic medical care they need to learn and thrive. The current proposal will jeopardize student's ability to receive comprehensive care at schools and create barriers to access.  
The American Health Care Act would undermine critical healthcare services my district provides to children. It would also lead to layoffs of school personnel, the potential for new taxes to compensate for the Medicaid shortfall, and shifting general education dollars to special education programs to compensate for these cuts.  
TARGET LIST 

TARGETS WHO OPPOSED AHCA BUT NEED TO GET THEM ON THE RECORD NOW RECONFIRMING OPPOSITION TO THE  NEW, WORSE REPEAL BILL

AK-AL    Don        Young

IA-03     David     Young

MD-01  Andy     Harris

NJ_11    Rodney Frelinghuysen

NJ-02     Glenn    Thompson

NJ-04     Chris      Smith

NV-02   Mark     Amodei

NY-24    John      Katko

OH-10   Mike      Turner

OH-14   Dave      Joyce

TX-23     Will         Hurd

VA-01    Rob        Wittman

VA-10    Barbara Comstock

WA-03  Jaime    Herrera Beutler

 

TARGETS WHO SUPPORTED OR WERE UNDECIDED ON AHCA AND NEED TO GET TO OPPOSE THE NEW, WORSE REPEAL BILL

AZ-02    Martha McSally

CA-08    Paul       Cook

CA-21    David     Valadao

CA-25    Steve    Knight

CA-39    Ed           Royce

CA-45    Mimi      Walters

CA-48    Dana      Rohrabacher

CA-49    Darrell   Issa

CO-03    Scott      Tipton

CO-06    Mike      Coffman

FL-18     Brian      Mast

FL-25     Mario    Diaz-Balart

FL-26     Carlos    Curbelo

IL-06      Peter     Roskam

IL-12      Mike      Bost

IL-13      Rodney Davis

IL-14      Randy   Hultgren

ME-02   Bruce    Poliquin

MN-02  Jason     Lewis

MN-03  Erik         Paulsen

NE-02    Don        Bacon

NY-02    Peter     King

NY-19    John      Faso

NY-21    Elise       Stefanik

NY-22    Claudia Tenney

OH-07   Bob        Gibbs

PA-06    Ryan      Costello

PA-07    Pat         Meehan

PA-18    Tim         Murphy

TX-23     Will         Hurd

WA-08  David     Reicher
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April 24, 2017

(RURAL EDUCATION, SCHOOL NUTRITION) Permanent link

Webinar: The Community Eligibility Provision in Rural Schools

We are excited to be hosting a webinar with FRAC and NREA to discuss the Community Eligibility Provision in rural schools. The Community Eligibility Provision allows high-need schools and districts to offer meals at no cost to all students and eliminates the need for household school meal applications. Schools that implement community eligibility often see increased participation in the  School Breakfast Program and the National School Lunch Program and reduced paperwork burden. Schools in rural communities are an important access point for nutritious meals for low-income students and offering meals through community eligibility can help ensure students have access to the healthy meals they need to succeed.

The webinar will be held Monday, May 8 at 1:00 ET. You can register for the free webinar here.

April 13, 2017

(ESEA, IDEA, ADVOCACY TOOLS, ED FUNDING) Permanent link

AASA Appropriations Activity

Earlier this month, AASA joined other national organizations in a letter highlighting the importance of investment in IDEA (Read the letter). We also focused our April advocacy challenge on federal appropriations, and you can read those details on the blog

This week, AASA took further action: 

  • We joined 11 other national organizations to re-issue a letter we sent last year outlining our continued concerns related to ensuring that the final FY17 Title I allocation is high enough to avoid cuts at the local level. We reissued the letter to highlight the continued need as Congress comes back from recess and tackles their final FY17 discussions. Read the updated letter. Groups signing the letter include:
    • American Federation of Teachers 
    • Association of Educational Service Agencies 
    • Association of School Business Officials International 
    • Council of Great City Schools 
    • National Association of Elementary School Principals 
    • National Association of Secondary School Principals 
    • National Education Association 
    • National PTA 
    • National Rural Education Advocacy Consortium 
    • National Rural Education Association 
    • National School Boards Association 
  • AASA submitted a final FY17 budget priority letter, which also indicated initial FY18 priorities. Our letter prioritizes investment in ESSA Title I, IDEA, and Perkins Career/Technical Education; opposes proposed cuts/elimination for ESSA Title II and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers; and reiterates the importance of parity between defense and non defense discretionary funding.  
  •  

April 12, 2017

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

Using Recess to Advocate for: Secure Rural Schools Funding

The Secure Rural Schools program was intended as a safety net for forest communities in 41 states.  SRS payments are based on historic precedent and agreements began in 1908 removing federal lands from local tax bases and from full local community economic activity.  The federal government and Congress were expected to develop a long term system based on sustainable active forest management.

YOUR SCHOOL AND COUNTY safety net is unraveling.  APRIL ACTION IS NEEDED.

On March 7, since Congress failed to act on SRS and forest management, the National Forest Service issued 25 % payments of timber receipts to states based on the original 1908 Act.  Your 2016 payments, actually based on timber receipts, are well below Secure Rural Schools funding.  They were also cut 6.9% by sequestration.  775 Counties and over 4,400 schools serving 9 million students in 41 states now directly face the grim financial reality of budget cuts and the loss of county road, fire and safety services, and reductions in education programs and services for students. The negative impact of lost SRS funds for counties and schools in Rocky Mountain states are compounded by reduced PILT payments.  All these funding cuts negatively affect everyone who lives in or visits forest counties.

Congress must continue the historic national commitment to the 775 rural counties and 4,400 schools in rural communities and school districts served by the SRS program. Without immediate Congressional action on forest management and SRS, forest counties and schools face the loss of irreplaceable essential fire, police, road and bridge, community and educational services.

Congress must act on short term FY 2016- 2017 funding for Secure Rural Schools and active long term forest management programs generating revenues and local jobs.    

YOUR APRIL ACTION IS NEEDED TO SAVE SRS

Please contact the district office of your Member of Congress BETWEEN NOW AND APRIL 28:

 

  • Ask for and arrange a face to face meeting with your Member or District Director.
  • Bring specific information illustrating the loss of SRS funding in your county and your schools.  
  • Be specific, what programs are being cut, what students lose, and how these services will not be replaced without SRS funding. 
  • Bring parents and representatives of your community if possible.  
  • Tell your Member and staff what SRS funding means to his/her schools and communities.   

Finally: 

 

 

  • ASK your Member of Congress to tell his/her leadership to include SRS authorization and short term 2016-2017 funding when Congress finalizes FY 2017 funding by April 28. 
  • ASK for SRS 2016-2017 Funding  - critically needed to support essential safety, fire, police, road and bridge, community and education services, and 
  • ASK for action on legislation to actively manage and restore National Forest and BLM lands promoting social and economic stability in local communities. 

PROVIDE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES OF EDUCATION PROGRAMS, FIRE, POLICE, ROAD, BRIDGE, AND LOCAL SERVICES YOUR COMMUNITIES ARE LOSING IF SRS FUNDING IS NOT REPLACED.   

To view interactive maps showing distribution of federal and payments: https://goo.gl/R0sDb9

 

 

 

 

 

April 11, 2017

(ESEA) Permanent link

Guest Blog Post: Independently Reviewing State ESSA Plans

Today's guest blog post comes from our friends at Collaborative for Student Success

Since the Every Student Succeeds Act passed with bipartisan congressional support and was signed by President Obama, there has been much debate about how states will – and should – use this opportunity to make bold decisions in designing their new accountability systems, capitalizing on the freedom and flexibility the new law affords them.

As states submit their plans to the U.S. Department of Education, eyes across the country are on them, wondering which states following through on that promise, and how. That’s why the Collaborative for Student Success has teamed up with Bellwether Education Partners to spearhead an independent peer review of state ESSA plans. This effort will look beyond compliance, and focus in on whether a state plan has a strong likelihood of success. It will provide states, districts, parents, teachers and advocates with an additional level of feedback and guidance. 

We are proud to have assembled a list of phenomenal experts, who will use their depth of experience to help each state design the best plan possible. Our peer reviewers boast diversity, partisan balance, and state and national expertise. We have also recruited content specialists to ensure additional attention to the needs of students with disabilities and English Language Learners.

Here’s how it works: Our findings will go to states first. This isn’t an attempt to shame anyone. We welcome changes on the basis of the guidance our peers provide. We will inform national and state partners soon thereafter. We plan to publicly release a summary analysis of the strengths and weaknesses our peers have found across state plans in June, and plan to share these findings as “Lessons Learned” to help guide future state plans for states submitting in September.

Now is the time for states to lead, with a special consideration towards opinions from district leaders who understand how policies work on the school level. Now is the time for states to prove that the confines of federal dictation hamstrung them and, left to their own accord, they would do what is in the best interests of their students.

But, the reality of the situation is that children have waited far too long for the education system they deserve nationwide – in every classroom, school, district and state. In past years, many relied on the federal peer review process to help ensure state plans were moving in the right direction, but with a new administration staffing up and with states exploring the new power they have been gifted at the same time, mere compliance with the law is not enough to ensure real change and improvement.

How can you help? We’re sharing this information so that you are aware of this effort and will expect the forthcoming analysis. We encourage you to share this information with colleagues and policymakers in your state. We hope you use it to help advocate for the changes that will strengthen your state plan and help ensure meaningful accountability. 

Click here to find more information on our independent peer review. 

 

April 10, 2017

(ADVOCACY TOOLS, ED FUNDING, THE ADVOCATE) Permanent link

The Advocate, April 2017

By Noelle Ellerson Ng, associate executive director, policy and advocacy, AASA

As we move into April, just four months into the New Year, it is critical that we address a few things about advocacy and the role of the superintendent in advocacy. In short, what you do matters. Keep it up. And let us know how we (Sasha, Leslie and I) can help you.

When we were talking about the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, which eventually became the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), we talked about the pendulum of federal involvement in education. Under NCLB, the pendulum was positioned firmly over dictating and prescribing to state and local education leaders. One of the biggest accomplishments—and framing perspectives—of ESSA was to return that pendulum back toward a role for the federal government focused on supporting and strengthening public schools by empowering state and local education leaders.

Let’s keep the pendulum metaphor and apply it to advocacy more generally. With this New Year, new Congress and new administration, we can safely (and unfortunately) see that the pendulum of support/priority for public education has swung toward prioritizing privatization. It is a less-than-heartening reality and remains at the core of what we are focused on at AASA—ensuring that a high-quality public school is a viable option for every parent and every community.

When you have an environment that is premised on privatization over support for public education, every policy seems like something we have to engage on. The current environment in Washington, D.C.—as it relates to federal education policy conversations—can at best be described as concerning, if not threatening. As such, when we provide updates to AASA members, we are ever cognizant of the fact that almost all policy areas include something that could be considered a threat, or not good news. With that in mind, and knowing that the effort to build out and support superintendent advocacy in 2017, we wanted to remind you of a few important points:

  • Advocacy is a marathon, not a sprint. Now, more than ever, this is important to keep in mind. It is very likely that the conversations we have with this Congress and this administration will be in defense of public education.
  • Congress will make these votes whether they hear from you or not. Let’s at least give them a shot of getting it right. To use another axiom I just picked up: They may not always do better, but our advocacy can ensure they know better.
  • You do not need to be a master in all aspects of federal policy. It is an explicit member benefit—of belonging to both AASA and your state affiliate—to have support in your advocacy efforts. Rely on your advocacy team to do the heavy lifting when it comes to reading, analyzing and communicating important information about legislation, regulation and policy.
  • Continuing on the idea of not needing to be a master of all aspects of federal policy, engage deeply on the one or two issues that are most important to you/your district, or that you find most interesting. From there, coordinate with other superintendents in your region/state to ensure that all of the topics are covered. If you focus on funding and education technology, perhaps your neighboring superintendent(s) can focus on nutrition, and another on ESSA, and another on IDEA, etc… Many hands make light work.
  • Keep your head up. The current education policy environment may seem overwhelming or depressing or a lost cause. Sincerely, though (and accounting for the inherent job bias we have toward public education and advocacy): Your voice matters. Your advocacy matters. If we don’t commit to advocating for public education now, who will? And when? To borrow from one of my favorite MLK quotes, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” We have to reiterate that the arc of education in this nation is long, and has long been the backbone of our nation, it’s civic education/engagement, and its success, and bends toward public education. This moment in time is a shift of the pendulum to the opposite end of the spectrum, and your commitment and advocacy is the best remedy we can think of for redirecting the narrative back toward a focus on supporting and strengthening our nation’s public schools.

This month’s Superintendent Advocacy Challenge (full details here) is all about appropriations. And given the amount of detail related to funding, the challenge is broken into two parts.

The first one is all about the broader framing concepts, including the need for continued investment in education and maintaining parity between defense and non-defense funding. The second part, coming mid-month, will be a great complement and will have program-specific details and talking points. AS always with the superintendent advocacy challenge, if you would prefer to focus on a priority other than the ones already featured, just let us know what you need.

April 3, 2017

(ADVOCACY TOOLS, ED FUNDING) Permanent link

April 2017 Advocacy Challenge: Appropriations

This month’s advocacy focus is all about funding. It is a little longer than usual, because we spent a little more time providing background. It is also divvied into two parts. This part is focused on annual appropriations in general, and the second part will be talking points by content area (ESSA, IDEA, rural education, ed tech, etc…)  As always, let us know if you have any questions, or if you need any additional information (including the name and email address of the appropriate staffer). Given the length of this month's challenge, it is also available for download here.

BACKGROUND: This month’s ‘background’ section makes a little more sense when listed as a set of definitions:

 

  • What year is it? For purposes of this update, you will see reference to federal fiscal year (FY) 2016, 2017 and 2018. Federal fiscal years run from October 1 through September 30. FY17 started on October 1, 2016 and runs through September 30, 2017. This month, April 2017, is in FY17 and FY17 dollars will be in your schools for the 2017-18 school year; FY16 dollars are currently in your schools; and FY18 is the budget proposal just released by President Trump. 
  • Sequester: Sequester is the set of across the board cuts that was applied to the federal budget—including education—in 2013. The cuts of sequester stem from the Budget Control Act of 2011, a law passed by Congress. The BCA implemented ten years of budget caps AND triggered sequester when Congress was unable to identify cuts on its own. The budget caps and sequester cuts (and continued pressure) are at the center of the broader federal education funding conversation. The budget caps are very real and Congress is legally bound to operate within those funding restraints.
    • Defense and Non-Defense Discretionary Funding: Within the federal budget, there is mandatory and discretionary funding. We are in the discretionary slice of the pie. Within discretionary funding, there is defense discretionary  and non-defense discretionary (NDD). Education funding is a part of non-defense discretionary funding. When the cuts of sequester applied, they applied equally between defense and non-defense discretionary dollars. 
    • Parity: From the first application of sequester, there was a concerted push to raise the cap (amount of funding available) for defense discretionary funding. The cuts of sequester are absolute, meaning the only way to raise funds for defense discretionary were to make further cuts to NDD (eek!) or to raise the overall cap. Most preferably, the goal would be to raise the cap and provide equal cap raises for both defense AND NDD. This is parity. President Barack Obama was rock-solid on parity. When he was approached with the idea of raising defense discretionary funding, he was agreeable so long as there was a comparable increase available for non-defense discretionary funding.
  • Appropriations Process: If this were ‘School House Rocks’, here’s how the federal appropriations process works: The President introduces a budget proposal; the House and Senate use/refer to this budget proposal in drafting/revising their respective budget proposals before adopting their respective budget resolutions. These budget resolutions are used to determine allocations for each of the 12 appropriations sub committees (education funding is in the Labor, Health, Human Services Education And Other, or LHHS, appropriation). Sub committees use these allocations to provide funding (whether a cut or an increase) to specific programs. All 12 subcommittees would adopt and pass a stand-alone appropriation, which would then be adopted on the full chamber floor, and all before the October 1 start of the federal fiscal year. This is NOT a ‘School House Rocks’ process kind of Congress, though. (the last time Congress completed the traditional appropriations process on time was more than 20 years ago).
    • Continuing Resolution: When Congress is unable to complete its annual appropriations process on time, there is a threat for a federal government shutdown. Congress can avoid a shutdown by exercising a continuing resolution (CR), which provides short-term funding to buy Congress additional time to complete its appropriations work. A CR is straight, level funding. If the program was funding in the previous year, it will be funded in this new year, at the exact same level. The CR does not include program/policy changes or changes to funding level. A CR can include anomalies, which may account for some changes, but the most common type of CR is a ‘clean’ CR, which just extends and level funds programs.

 

POLICY RELEVANCE

Federal Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17): FY17 runs Oct 1, 2016 thru Sept 30, 2017. Congress did NOT complete its appropriations work for FY17 on time, and instead adopted a CR, and the current CR expires on April 28. Congress will need to complete its appropriations work ahead of April 28 if it wants to avoid a shutdown. What are its options? Each is listed below, along with a brief explanation of why it may (not) be relevant:

 

  • Stand Alone Appropriations Bills: Congress could pick up the work it had started, and move to consider and adopt each of the 12 appropriations bills independently. This is highly unlikely. Congress has a finite amount of floor time available for this debate before April 28—including a 2 week Easter/Spring recess. Further, Congress (and the Senate, in particular) has other demands for floor time that limit the likelihood of this scenario: normal business, ongoing confirmations for the new administration, FY18 conversations, and confirmation of the Supreme Court nominee. Quite simply, they don’t have enough floor time for this option.
  • Omnibus: Congress could pass the 12 stand-alone bills independently in committee, and then pile them together into one big ‘up or down’ vote. This is increasingly less likely to happen, given time constraints.
  • Minibus: In this scenario, Congress would pass some of the stand alone appropriations bills (typically those that are slated for funding increases, so not necessarily LHHS), and then use a year-long CR for the remaining bills. This is somewhat likely, but also concerning. Given the absolute nature of the budget caps, a funding increase for some would mean a funding cut for others (including our LHHS bill). In a mini-bus scenario, LHHS doesn’t even get on the bus.
  • Year-Long CR: In this scenario, Congress will extend the CR to last through September 30. A year-long CR means level funding for any program currently being funded. As each day goes by, this looks ever more likely. It is the path of least resistance: by not opening up the 12 individual bills, Congress avoids debate, and avoiding debate will be key to getting any of these done on time. A year-long CR will require certain anomalies (or conforming language) particular to education. FY16 funded No Child Left Behind; FY17 will fund the first year of Every Student Succeeds Act. ESSA had some programmatic restructuring that would not be realized under an FY16/NCLB construct; anomaly language would allow FY16 dollars amounts to flow through an FY17 construct.

 

Federal Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18): On March 16, President Trump released his FY18 budget proposal for federal fiscal year 2018 (October 1, 2017-September 30, 2018; these are the federal dollars that will be in your schools for the 2018-19 school year). Referred to as a ‘skinny budget’, the proposal covers only the discretionary portion of the budget (NOT mandatory programs) and even in that, does not indicate the proposed funding level for all federal discretionary programs. 

Overview & Analysis: As expected, the framing lens for the President’s budget is his proposal for a $54 billion increase in defense discretionary funding. (As a reminder, the cuts of sequester applied only to the discretionary portion of the budget, and applied equally to both defense and non-defense discretionary funding. Education programs are in the non-defense discretionary (NDD) portion of the budget. From the onset of sequester, President Obama was a staunch protector of ensuring parity between defense and non-defense discretionary funding; any time there was a push to increase funding for defense discretionary funding, he was agreeable only if there was a commensurate increase for the NDD slice of the pie.) President Trump blows the concept of parity out of the water. He proposes paying for his $54 billion increase in defense discretionary funding by making a $54 billion cut in NDD. As a frame of reference, that is approximately 10% of the overall NDD allocation. Looking more specifically at the K12 education portion of the proposal:

 

  • Cuts funding to the US Education Department by $9 billion (13 percent)
  • Provides $1.4 billion increase in school choice privatization
    • $1 billion increase for Title I, for state and districts to use for vouchers/choice/portability
    • $250 million for a new voucher program
    • $168 million increase for the charter school program
  • ALL new proposed education funding in President Trump’s budget is for choice/privatization. All other programs (for which detail is provided) are either cut or level-funded.
  • IDEA is level funded ($12.7 billion, or approx. 16%, less than half of federal commitment to 40%)
  • Eliminates
    • Every Student Succeeds Act Title II (Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants)
    • ESSA 21st Century Community Learning Centers program
  • Eliminates or cuts 20 other categorical programs. Those listed include:
    • Striving Readers
    • Teacher Quality partnership
    • Impact Aid Support Payments for Federal Property
    • International Educational Programs

 

There is much that remains unanswered, both in terms of the mandatory programs in the budget and other programs we care about in the K12 budget (including, but not limited to, Perkins/Career Tech, Rural Education Achievement Program, ESSA Title IV). Please note that this summary includes all detail that is currently available. If you do not see a program referenced, it means the budget does not reference it. We cannot predict, at this point, whether that means an increase, cut or level funding.

FY18 Looking Ahead: Two big questions remain to be answered: How committed is President Trump to this budget? That is, does this proposal represent his serious funding priorities or is it a compilation of campaign promises parading around as a federal document? Second, how does Congress react to this proposal? It is a proposal based heavily on cuts, many of which may make the proposal ‘dead on arrival’ on Capitol Hill. We have to see if Congress takes any/all/none of it into consideration as it starts its FY18 appropriations work.

TALKING POINTS:

 

  • Talk to your members about the importance of continued investment in education. Investing in education builds a stronger nation. We need a well-trained and educated workforce ready to compete in a global economy and support our military.
  • The best way to reduce the deficit is to spur economic growth. Yet we can’t run businesses, schools and universities, or the public sector if our children don’t grow into adults equipped with the tools they need to succeed.
  • Education funding for K-12 education is less than it was ten years ago. In a time of tight budgets, 23 states are on track to provide less formula funding in 2017 than they did ten years ago, cutting the largest source of support for elementary and secondary education. Yet federal elementary and secondary education funding is still below the 2008 level even though public school enrollment has increased by 2.3 percent over those ten years.
  • $1 invested in early childhood education saves at least $7 down the road. Yet Head Start, the largest federal early childhood education program, is so underfunded that it can serve only 4 out of every 10 eligible children from low-income families.
  • A greater education investment – spent wisely – makes sense by increasing educational achievement. For example, funding that allows for better teachers and smaller class size increases high school graduation rates, especially for low-income students. Because of how education is funded in the U.S., low-income students are likely to benefit most from federal funding, much of which is targeted to schools in low-income neighborhoods and to low-income college students.
  • Parity: Encourage your members of Congress to advocate for—and support-continued parity between defense and non-defense discretionary funding, and to oppose President Trump’s proposal to increase defense discretionary funding by $54 billion, and to pay for it by cutting NDD. 
  • FY17: 
    • Title I: Fund Title I at a level $200 million above President Obama’s proposed level. Title I must be funded at a robust enough level to ensure at least level funding for district allocations. ESSA includes an increase in the state set aside and lifts the Title I “hold harmless” provision, meaning that even with the $450 million rollover from SIG, the Title I allocation (as proposed by the President) leaves a $200 million shortfall at the local level. AASA is opposed to any scenario where they FY17 allocation leaves school districts with less money in FY17 (the first year of ESSA) than they had in FY16.
    • IDEA Funding: Congress must continue to increase its investment in IDEA. Adjusted for inflation, the current proposals—the President, the Senate, and the House—remain woefully underfunded, coming nowhere near Congress’ commitment to providing 40% of the additional cost associated with education students with disabilities. In fact, the current proposals put the federal share at roughly 16%, which is less than half of what Congress committed to, and below FY10 levels when adjusted for inflation.
    • ESSA Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG, Title IV-A): It is critical that Title IV, the flexible funding block grant that allows school districts to invest in a variety of programs—including well-rounded education, school climate, technology and professional development—must be funded at high enough a level to support meaningful formula allocation. 
    • If Congress advances a year-long CR, the bill must include anomaly language to reconcile policy changes between No Child Left Behind and Every Student Succeeds Act, including authorizing the eliminated School Improvement Grant (SIG) money to flow through the Title I Part A base formula, and to allow the program changes in the new Title IV.
  • FY18: Much of the advocacy for FY18 will be further shaped by what Congress does in response to President Trump’s FY18 budget proposal.
    • Urge your delegation to OPPOSE the draconian cuts in the President’s budget. 
    • Express deep concern with a budget proposal that cuts $9 billion (13%) from the Department of Education. 
    • Express deep concern with a budget proposal where EVERY.SINGLE.NEW. dollar (all $1.4 billion of them!) are for choice and privatization. Encourage your delegation to support that increase, but to prioritize investment of those dollars into key formula programs that support all students and schools, including IDEA, Title I and Perkins. 
    • OPPOSE the President’s proposal to use $1 billion in new funding for Title I for portability or vouchers. Any new money in Title I must flow through the base formula. 
    • AASA remains opposed to continued reliance on competitive allocation of funding. All dollars must remain available to all schools and all students, and any reliance on competitive allocation reinforces a system of winners/losers, rather than addressing opportunity gaps.

 

Check out this handy chart from the Committee for Education Funding, which shows the total amount of discretionary funding available at the Department of Education. As a point of reference: the FY16 allocation (the dollars currently in your schools) is above where we were in FY12, but below where we were in FY10. Think about your student population today; do you have more students in poverty? More English Learners? More students with disabilities? 

For a better look at trends in state funding (HINT: 35 states put in less money in 2014 than they did in 2008!) check out this report from our friends at Center on Budget & Policy Priorities. 

Appropriations Part II is coming! This will include more program-specific talking points.