Articles tagged with education funding

Education, health, and social welfare coalition urges Congress to boost K-12 education spending

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) joined more than 1,000 groups asking Congress to restore funds to the appropriations bill that includes education and related programs to the fiscal year (FY) 2010 level of $163.6 billion.

A letter signed by 1,065 groups representing the health, education, labor and social services sectors, based in Washington and in each state, was sent to Congressional leaders on March 13. The letter noted that despite the profound impact on the country’s health, education, and productivity, the budget for the federal programs and services remains below FY 2010 levels and the impacted groups are buckling under the weight of increased demand. Specifically, the FY 2014 allocation remains 3.6 percent below FY 2010 in nominal dollars, and almost 10 percent lower than FY 2010 when adjusted for inflation.

The increasing costs of “must pay” programs—such as nonprofit student loan servicers and support for unaccompanied refugee children from war-torn areas—erode discretionary funding available for other programs in the 302(b) allocation to the Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill, the letter stated. NSBA urges Congress to examine how more funding could ease the student achievement gaps by race and socioeconomic status. Restoring the lost funding could improve the United States’ standing compared to our industrialized counterparts in student achievement, high school graduation, and college attendance and completion rates.

The letter urged the chairman and ranking members of the Committee on Appropriations for both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to recognize the value of health, education, job training, and social services in improving global competitiveness.

 

Staff|March 14th, 2014|Categories: Educational Finance, Educational Legislation, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs|Tags: , |

With budget passage, America’s school boards encourage Congress to prioritize education funding

Here is the statement from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel praising the U.S. Senate for passing the budget plan known as the Bipartisan Budget Act, which seeks to restore many of the cuts to prek-12 education:

NSBA thanks the U.S. Senators who put partisan differences aside and approved the Bipartisan Budget Act today. This measure will help mitigate the impact of the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration and restore critical programs to public schools across the nation. We are pleased that President Barack Obama has pledged to quickly sign the bill.

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 ability to prepare our next generation of students for college and career readiness in today’s complex global economy. That foundation begins at prek-12 levels.

As Congress now moves forward with the remaining work of the FY14 appropriations process, we urge the Appropriations Committees to write funding bills that prioritize federal education programs that are crucial to helping our most disadvantaged students, specifically Title I and grants for students with disabilities. These federal programs are essential to support long‐standing federal commitments and help offset the recent budget cuts, which have forced school districts to cut academic programs and have disproportionately hurt our neediest students and schools.

We especially thank Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray for their leadership in finding a solution that will help America’s public schools. We support their continued leadership to develop a long-term solution that will sustain federal investments in prek-12 education and put our students first.

Additionally, NSBA, along with other leading national education groups, sent a letter to members of Congress this evening to encourage that education priorities and federal commitments are addressed in the appropriations process.

Alexis Rice|December 18th, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Federal Advocacy, Legislative advocacy, School Boards|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: , , , , , |

School boards prepare for layoffs, program cuts as federal deadline looms

School boards across the country will be forced to lay off thousands of teachers and teacher aides in coming weeks as they create their budgets for the 2013-14 academic year because of the federal budget cuts scheduled to take place March 1.

The sequester, which will require across the board budget cuts for all federal programs on March 1, will eliminate about 5 percent of funding for K-12 programs and Head Start. However, representatives from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) pointed out in a press conference call this week that those cuts disproportionately affect school districts that are educating large populations of disadvantaged students.

Michael A. Resnick, NSBA’s Associate Executive Director for Federal Advocacy and Public Policy, noted that many school districts are beginning to plan next year’s budgets, and in an informal survey, three-quarters said they would be issuing layoff notices this spring.

For some school districts, the process of issuing pink slips has already started.

Minnie Forte-Brown, a school board member in Durham, N.C., and chair of NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education, said her school district planned to eliminate 34 teacher and staff positions. Title I cuts would be about $800,000 of about $1.7 million in cuts that the 33,000 student school would endure for the next 10 years, special education would amount to another $600,000 each year.

The school board has already stopped filling vacant positions and has cut all travel and professional development.

“We are implementing extreme measures,” said Forte-Brown. “This is not the promise we made to our families when we said we were going to educate excellently.”

In rural Alabama, Steve Foster, vice president of the Lowndes County Board of Education, said his school district has already seen significant state cuts in recent years, and a further reduction from the federal government would diminish books and classroom supplies, teacher retention and professional development programs, and cuts to the library, where many parents and students who do not have home computers or internet access go to work on school assignments.

”Our school system has made great strides in the last 10 to 12 years. These cuts are going to affect the programs that help us make progress,” said Foster, who is also President of the Alabama Association of School Boards.

President Obama has frequently used education and early childhood examples in recent speeches about the impact of sequestration on the country. The White House released state-by-state estimates that include how much K-12 funding each state stands to lose, the number of teacher and staff jobs, the number of children that will lose access to Head Start, and other details. (The Washington Post published this graphic detailing the cuts.)

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program on February 24 to warn of the impact of the looming cuts to K-12 programs.

More than 700 school boards have passed resolutions urging Congress to stop the sequester. Go to NSBA’s website, www.nsba.org/stopsequestration, for sample letters, resolutions, and other activities for school boards.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|February 26th, 2013|Categories: Board governance, Budgeting, Educational Finance, Educational Legislation, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy, Policy Formation, School Boards, Teachers|Tags: , , , , , , |

NSBA urges House to reject “Plan B” legislation to avoid fiscal cliff, GOP leaders cancel vote

A GOP-backed “fiscal cliff” compromise bill, which is opposed by the National School Boards Association (NSBA), appeared to be in jeopardy when Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives abruptly cancelled a vote Thursday evening.

NSBA sent a letter to all House members of urging them to strike down the Budget Control Act, more commonly known as part of the “Plan B” legislation. The Budget Control Act would ease some of the tax hikes that are slated to occur on Jan. 2, 2013, but would also significantly cut K-12 education and other programs. The Washington Post reported that House leaders were unable to secure enough votes for passage.

The act of sequestration, across-the-board budget cuts that are scheduled as part of last year’s deficit reduction plan, would cut all federal education programs about 8.2 percent, or $82,000 for every $1 million a school district receives in federal funds. According to the Post, the lack of a vote “throws into chaos efforts to avoid the fiscal cliff, just 11 days before more than $500 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts are set to take effect. Unless Congress acts, many economists predict the nation will again descend into a recession.”

The bill “would impose record budget cuts to elementary and secondary education programs, which would be well beyond the reductions legislated in the Budget Control Act,” the NSBA letter states. “From deep cuts to Title I grants for disadvantaged students and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to mandatory reductions that would eliminate automatic eligibility of 280,000 low-income students for free school lunches, these measures would be a regression to the progress our school districts have made in student achievement.”

NSBA is continuing to monitor any action by Congress. Both chambers are scheduled to reconvene on Dec. 27. For more information and resources, visit NSBA’s Stop Sequestration website.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|December 21st, 2012|Categories: Board governance, Budgeting, Educational Finance, Educational Legislation, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy|Tags: , , |

NSBA opposes funding for unproven D.C. voucher program

The National School Boards Association has asked the House Appropriations Committee to eliminate funding for the Washington, D.C., school voucher program, an experimental program which provides tuition assistance for about 1,600 disadvantaged students from the District of Columbia to attend private or religious schools.

The program has repeatedly failed to show effectiveness in improving student achievement over the years,” writes Michael A. Resnick, NSBA’s associate executive director for federal advocacy and public policy, in a June 20 letter.

“At the time when Congress is considering cutting billions of dollars from the federal budget, it should not be spending $20 million of taxpayer dollars, or a 35 percent increase from last year’s funding level, for a small number of students to attend private schools.”

The funding is included in the FY2013 financial services appropriations bill, which is scheduled to be debated by the committee on June 20.

The letter cites four studies by the U.S. Department of Education, ordered by Congress and conducted in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 that found no significant impact on math achievement among students who were in voucher schools compared to their peers in public schools.

In the programs’ first two years, data showed no significant improvement in reading achievement. There were some gains in reading achievement in the next two years, but NSBA noted that students coming from “failing schools” and those who enter the voucher program in the lower third of the test-score distribution—the very groups the program intended to help—showed no improvement in reading.

“Not only does the experimental program lack academic evidence to support its continuation, the [2007 report] documented numerous accountability shortcomings, including federal taxpayer dollars paying tuition at private schools that do not even charge tuition, schools that lacked a legally-required city occupancy permit, and schools employing teachers without bachelor’s degrees and/or certification,” Resnick writes. “It also noted that children with physical or learning disabilities were underrepresented compared to public schools.”

 

Joetta Sack-Min|June 20th, 2012|Categories: Educational Finance, Educational Legislation, Legislative advocacy, Mathematics Education, School Vouchers, Student Achievement|Tags: , , , |

Schools will pay, even with boost from stimulus package

What’s the most unenviable job in Washington? I have a candidate — the press secretary for Rep. Pete Sessions, ( R-Texas), who not once but twice referenced the Taliban as models for a GOP  “insurgency” against the Democratically-controlled Congress and its $800 billion-plus stimulus package.

“What the Congressman meant to say was….”

“Yes, they’re great — wickedly great.”

“It depends on what your definition of  ‘insurgency’ is…”

Enough with the jokes. This is a critical time for public schools, which are starting to shed more and more jobs as the economy worsens. With the exact dimensions of the stimulus package undecided, public school advocates have less to fear from Sessions and his band of Mujahedeen than from more mainstream congressmen, most of whom, to be sure, are trying in good faith to reach a compromise to get the legislation passed. However, the bill the Senate is set to vote on today reduces by billions the amount that would go to public schools and other programs that benefit children and families under the House legislation.

Granted, schools and children would still get a boost. But, according to the children’s advocacy group First Focus, they would take a disproportionate hit from the Senate reductions: More than 45 percent of the $83 billion in reductions would be to public education and children’s programs, First Focus estimates. They cuts would come from such things as Head Start, school construction, and special education.

In addition, the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund — half of which would go to local school districts – would be reduced by $40 billion, or more than half, in the Senate version,  meaning school districts wouldn’t have all the support they need to avoid layoffs that harm both their students and the economy as a whole.

Soon I will begin work on a May ASBJ story on the impact of personnel cuts on school districts. (And let me disclose here that I have friends and relatives who could be affected.) Assuming the Senate bill passes, let’s hope that when Congress conferees get together to reconcile differences in the House and Senate bills they will restore the cuts on the Senate side.  Then maybe my story won’t be quite so depressing.

Lawrence Hardy, Senior Editor

Naomi Dillon|February 10th, 2009|Categories: American School Board Journal, Governance|Tags: , |
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