Articles in the Budgeting category

School boards urge the U.S. Senate to act on the Bipartisan Budget Act

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel urged the U.S. Senate to pass the plan known as the Bipartisan Budget Act that would restore many of the cuts to prek-12 education in this statement:

We are at a critical juncture. House passage last week of the bipartisan budget deal is a step in the right direction. NSBA urges the Senate to take the steps necessary to avoid a government shut down in January and prioritize education.

Approval of the Bipartisan Budget Act is essential if we are to help mitigate the impact of the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration and restore programs to public schools across the nation. This budget is particularly critical for America’s public schools to continue to improve and educate a growing and diverse population of students. Our economy is dependent on our abilities to prepare our next generation of students for career and college readiness in today’s complex global economy. That foundation begins at prek-12 levels.

NSBA urges members of the U.S. Senate to pass the Bipartisan Budget Act this week, and continue the bipartisan groundwork laid by the U.S. House of Representatives. We especially thank Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray for their vision and leadership, and applaud their sustained focus toward developing a long-term solution and balanced budget that will sustain investments in prek-12 education and put America’s students first.

Alexis Rice|December 17th, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy, Student Achievement, Teachers|Tags: , , |

NSBA praises new budget plan for prioritizing public education funding

Thomas J. Gentzel, the Executive Director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), released the following statement on the bipartisan plan from Congressional leaders that would stop the automatic across-the-board cuts created by sequestration for two years:

“We are pleased to see leaders of Congress reach a budget compromise. This plan is an essential first step in the right direction for prek-12 education and public schools across America. NSBA is urging school board leaders to call upon Congress to approve this plan and stop the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration, which already has reduced funding from K-12 programs and Head Start by $2.8 billion in fiscal year 2013.

“This plan would sustain important educational programs that help close achievement gaps, raise graduation rates, and foster innovative learning environments. NSBA also is calling for a permanent end to sequestration, which has been a disinvestment in our nation’s students and schools.

“We thank Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin for their bipartisan collaboration to restore federal investments in our public schools. This important budget deal is welcome news to many of our school districts and school boards, because it will help to prevent teacher and staff layoffs, continue important after-school programs, and restore essential purchases for classrooms. We value lawmakers’ initial actions to support the success of our nation’s students, and hope to see future plans go even further.”

NSBA is encouraging school board leaders to call both of their senators and their representative regarding the budget agreement and urge them to vote “yes”, in support of the measure that will stop sequestration for two years. School board members can contact their members of Congress through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Alexis Rice|December 11th, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Federal Advocacy, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Boards|Tags: , , , , , |

NSBA teaches architects about school boards at EdSpaces event

Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), will deliver an education session at EdSpaces in San Antonio on December 4. The session “Presenting Proposals to School Boards” is aimed at architects and dealers bidding on school design projects to help them bring the proper attention to their firm’s capabilities and expertise.

The start of a new school building project begins with a proposal to the school board that explains an architect’s vision for the site and how it will meet the needs of the student and educator population. Gentzel will provide advice on what architects and designers can do to set themselves apart from their competition and avoid costly mistakes.

“It’s important for architects and designers to understand not only the role of the school board but also the needs of the local community,” Gentzel said. “A school board may want to incorporate features such as environmentally friendly design or build areas for their community’s use, and architects must be able to decifer their needs and deliver those on what are always tight budgets.”

Gentzel noted that a school construction project is a major endeavor for any school district, and districts want designs that will be adaptable in coming decades.

“We’re delighted that NSBA is contributing education content that will help school leaders make the best decision for educational facilities of the future,” says Jim McGarry, President/CEO of NSSEA. “With over 120 school districts attending EdSpaces, school board members will be meeting with the vendors, dealers, architects and designers to discuss how trends are affecting the solutions available for today’s learning spaces.”

The National School Supply and Equipment Association (NSSEA) produces EdSpaces, which is designed as the destination for school district and college officials to meet with manufacturers, dealers, architects, designers, and facilities planners to explore the impact of facilities on learning, discover new products and plan the Pre-K through higher education learning environments of tomorrow. EdSpaces includes a CEU-accredited education conference, led by many of the world’s top architects and designers, and focused on state-of-the-art, sustainable design and creative design/construction solutions. The EdSpaces exhibit hall showcases the most diverse range of innovative products for students of all ages.

For more information on this year’s event, held Dec. 4-6, 2013 in San Antonio, visit www.Ed-Spaces.com.

Joetta Sack-Min|December 4th, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Budgeting, Conferences and Events, School Boards, School Buildings, School Security|Tags: , , |

NSBA commends bill to offer schools flexibility on school nutrition programs

Update: The legislation, HR 3663, was introduced on December 5.

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) commends and supports new legislation that offers public schools added flexibility in meeting the mandates of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.The Reducing Federal Mandates on School Lunch Act, sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this week, offers relief to school districts on some of the federal mandates that have created soaring operational costs along with other unintended consequences, such as school lunches that leave students hungry in cases where serving sizes are inadequate or students do not like the food mandated and are refusing to eat it.

“America’s school boards are wholly committed to serving inviting, nutritious meals for all students, but many schools are struggling to meet the overly prescriptive and unnecessary federal mandates and balance the prohibitive cost against other essential student needs,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “We are pleased that this legislation includes recommendations from NSBA and school boards across the country to develop a school lunch program that gives schools more flexibility to address local needs.”

NSBA’s Director of Federal Programs Lucy Gettman added, “The forward-thinking legislation Rep. Noem proposes would allow local school officials to design flexible school meal programs that meet the needs of local students and local communities to ensure that all of America’s students gain access to tasty, healthy meals at school.”

Noem said the legislation would help schools “ensure our kids get the nutrition they need to be healthy and successful throughout the day.”

“As a mother of three, I know every kid has a different activity level and different nutrition needs, so forcing schools into a one-size-fits-all school lunch program doesn’t work for our schools or our students,” said Noem. “Current school lunch standards place an unnecessary burden on school administrators, especially in some of our smaller school districts, our poorest counties and our reservations, and send many of our kids home feeling hungry.”

Joetta Sack-Min|December 2nd, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Educational Finance, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Food Service, Nutrition, Obesity|Tags: , , , , |

OSBA: Results for Ohio school ballots “positive,” more districts look to voters for funds

Voters across Ohio approved 116 of 192 school tax issues during the Nov. 5 general election, the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) has reported.

“The overall results for this election are positive, with a 60 percent passage rate,” said OSBA Director of Legislative Services Damon Asbury. “It appears that our voting public understands that local support is a critical part of the school-funding equation.”

The passage rate for school issues on the ballot Tuesday is largely consistent with previous years. Faced with funding challenges, declining revenues and a difficult economy, many school districts are forced to turn to their local communities for support. Ohio schools that struggled on the ballot will likely be forced to make difficult budget decisions, including new rounds of cuts, OSBA leaders said.

“While there are signs the economy is improving in Ohio, many school districts in the state continue to experience funding challenges,” said OSBA Executive Director Richard Lewis. “In many cases, school districts have no choice but to turn to their communities to help maintain the high-quality instruction and services residents have come to expect.”

Some school tax issues approved on Tuesday will not qualify for the 10 percent and 2.5 percent rollback property taxpayers have experienced for decades. The state budget approved by lawmakers this summer eliminated the rollback for new and replacement levies beginning in November. The rollback was adopted in conjunction with the implementation of the income tax in the 1970s; some school leaders worry its elimination will make ballot issues harder to pass. The elimination of the rollback means more of the tax burden will be shifted from the state to local residents.

Joetta Sack-Min|November 6th, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Educational Finance, State School Boards Associations|Tags: , |

School boards encourage Congress to make education a priority following federal government shutdown

With the agreement to reopen the federal government and avert a debt default, Thomas J. Gentzel, the Executive Director of the National School Boards Association, released the following statement:

While there is now an agreement to fund the government until Jan. 15, 2014 and raise the debt ceiling through Feb. 7, 2014, the shutdown demonstrated a lack of leadership in the U.S. Congress and reflects a much larger and long-term problem on how the budget process is currently funding K-12 education programs.

Long term budget solutions are needed as Congress continues to pass budgets built on continuing resolutions with education programs funded at the same levels as the year before or cut because of sequestration. This process does not adequately fund the high-priority education programs that will impact student learning, and public schools across the U.S. deserve better from our leaders in Washington.

Future funding bills need to help sustain and continue public schools’ progress to improve student learning, increase graduation rates, and prepare all students for college and careers. It’s time for Congress to support their local schools districts and make education investments on behalf of America’s schoolchildren.

Additionally, now that the shutdown is over, the U.S. Senate needs to take action on its bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Strengthening America’s Schools Act, S. 1094. School board members across the country are anxiously awaiting progress on this important legislation following the U.S. House of Representatives passing its version of ESEA reauthorization earlier this year.

Alexis Rice|October 16th, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Federal Advocacy, School Boards|Tags: , , |

School boards call for adequate funding for public education, instead of government shutdown

With the federal government shutdown spurred by Congress’ lack of agreement on significant budget issues, Thomas J. Gentzel, the Executive Director of the National School Boards Association, released the following statement:

Much of the attention surrounding the federal government shutdown has revolved around the lack of agreement between parties on the Affordable Care Act. However, this shutdown reflects a much larger and long-term problem with Congress and the budget process for K-12 education programs.

For several years Congress has passed budgets built on continuing resolutions with education programs funded at the same levels as the year before or cut because of sequestration. This process does not adequately fund the high-priority education programs that will impact student learning, and public schools across the U.S. deserve better from our leaders in Washington.

The National School Boards Association urges Congress’ swift bipartisan action to pass a funding bill that will help sustain and continue public schools’ progress to improve student learning, increase graduation rates, and prepare all students for college and careers. As a key priority for our children, education investments should not be stalled because of partisanship.

Alexis Rice|October 1st, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Federal Advocacy, Legislative advocacy|Tags: , , |

Kentucky district uses “Brain Bus” to stop summer learning loss

The following article was originally published by the Kentucky School Boards Association and was written by Madelynn Coldiron.

When kids run for the school bus, it’s usually because they’re late. When Henderson County Schools’ summer Brain Bus pulls into Woodsview Apartments, they run for a different reason.

“It’s a good idea – it gives them something to do. When they see that bus pull up, they run,” said resident Terrence Belle, whose fourth-grade son, Talyn, took advantage of the bus this year and last year as well.

The surplus school bus, its exterior festooned with colorful graphics, has been gutted and retrofitted with individual computer stations, where children can learn while having fun with games and other electronic activities.

National research shows children lose ground academically during the summer and “kids in poverty will lose more,” said Marganna Stanley, the district’s assistant superintendent for administration.

The Wi-Fi-enabled, air-conditioned mobile tech lab began making its rounds in 2011. It was the brainchild of a team from a community leadership program whose members included several then-school district employees who were concerned about the dip in student scores between spring and fall.

Knowing that some children would not have transportation, “we thought, why not take it to them,” said Ellen Redding, former district employee who now works for Northwest Kentucky Forward.

The leadership program raised funds and got donations of laptops and other supplies and services for the bus, which was donated by the district. The program now is fully under the school system’s aegis.

During June and July, the Brain Bus targets mostly low-income areas where large numbers of children reside. It spends two hours at each of the eight stops over a four-day week. However, the schedule is flexible. Bus driver John Haynes, who also is a substitute teacher, said a crowd isn’t always guaranteed. In some spots, he said, few turn out and in other locations, kids are “lined up waiting for a computer.”

This year one site didn’t draw any participants so the district switched to another location.

That wasn’t the case at Woodsview, where sisters Madalynn and Shelby Terrell were among those climbing aboard.

“It’s great – it’s entertaining and you get to spend time with your friends,” third-grader Shelby Terrell said. Fifth-grader Alexis Sutton, meanwhile, not only played games herself, but helped younger students with theirs.

“We’ve had anywhere from kids who are just going into preschool to a few high schoolers,” said newly certified teacher Rachel O’Nan, who is stationed on the bus. “Every time we come, we get a couple of new ones.”

The district will track the performance of students who used the Brain Bus this summer to try to gauge the academic effect. The community leadership program did that last year, Redding said, and found “We had over 60 percent had an increase in their test scores – both math and reading. Those were just the kids we could track. We just looked at an increase in scores – we didn’t even look at the ones that stayed the same, and in reality those scores that stayed the same is still a win because they didn’t fall back.”

Children are on the bus a relatively short time, so the kind of progress they might make in a regular summer school offering is not possible, Stanley said.

“It’s voluntary so a student might have two hours a week (on the Brain Bus), maximum,” she said. “If they stay where they are or increase, we would be very pleased.”

There are also less empirical benefits, she said: “You can’t really measure this, but increasing their love of learning.”

O’Nan said the experience also helps those without computers or Internet access at home feel more comfortable with technology in a setting where they aren’t afraid to ask questions.

The Brain Bus was put to use for adults when the district wanted to show parents who work at one of the area’s large employers how Infinite Campus can be used to access their children’s records and grades. The plant didn’t have a computer lab-type setup available, “so we thought, ‘We have a lab on wheels’” Stanley said, and brought the bus to the factory.

This summer, in addition to its regular rounds, the bus visited a Boy Scout day camp at the group’s request.

“I think we’ll find lots of ways to use it,” Stanley said.

Well-established research shows that students generally score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer break compared with the same tests they took at the beginning of summer.

In math computation, most students lose about two months of grade- level equivalency over the summer months.

Low-income students lose more than two months of grade-level equivalency in reading achievement over the summer. Middle-class students, however, gain slightly.

Unequal access to summer learning opportunities can be the culprit in more than half the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth.

Source: The National Summer Learning Association, citing numerous studies

Joetta Sack-Min|August 27th, 2013|Categories: Assessment, Budgeting, Educational Research, Educational Technology, School Board News|Tags: |

NSBA expresses concerns on House K-12 budget proposal

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is disappointed in the House of Representatives’ proposed fiscal 2014 budget for K-12 programs and is calling on House members to restore funding.

The budget would create “devastating” cuts to many education programs, including $4.5 billion cuts to Title I and the main federal special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, if the budget cuts were to be applied across the board, according to NSBA.

In a July 24 letter to members of the House Appropriations Committee, NSBA wrote, “Local school boards have grave concerns over the Subcommittee’s overall 302(b) funding allocation that would impose greater budget cuts to programs implemented at the local school district level. Local school boards are also concerned that federal funding to support K-12 education is being significantly reduced at a time when there should be increased investments in our nation’s future.”

The NSBA letter refers to the overall subcommittee allocation, which was approved by the full committee more than a month ago.

Joetta Sack-Min|July 25th, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Educational Finance, Educational Legislation, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Student Achievement|Tags: , , , |

NSBA praises Senate bill to boost K-12 funding

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) supports a budget plan passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee that would increase funding for K-12 education, including Title I grants and special education. Most importantly, the bill would reverse the automatic budget cuts that will impact all K-12 education programs by this fall, known as sequestration.

A July 10 letter sent to all Senators noted that the proposed fiscal 2014 budget blueprint would help sustain targeted investments, and praised its increases to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the main federal special education law, and early education. “Protecting baseline funding for these priorities, and providing the increases needed to help address existing shortfalls, will help our school districts and states avoid reductions to the scope and delivery of education services and advancement,” the letter states. However, more money for IDEA is needed, the letter adds.

The bill also emphasizes early education by allotting a $1.6 billion increase for Head Start, including funds to expand Early Head Start and build a new Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships to serve children and families from before birth through age 3.

According to NSBA’s advocacy team, Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said that she will push to get the bill on the Senate floor for debate. The last time an education funding bill was debated by the Senate was 2007, she stated.

The House Appropriations Committee has adopted an overall allocation for the Labor, HHS, Education Subcommittee that could reduce funding for education by more than 18 percent, which would equate to more than a $4.5 billion cut to Title I grants and special education, according to NSBA’s advocacy team. The future of that measure is uncertain.

 

 

Joetta Sack-Min|July 12th, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Educational Finance, Educational Legislation, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy|Tags: , , , |
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