Articles tagged with school budgets

NSBA urges White House to protect federal K-12 funding

The economic impact of federal budget cuts now scheduled for early March would lead to long-term damage to investments in education and the nation’s infrastructure, White House economic advisers told representatives from Washington organizations at a Feb. 6 meeting.

National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel participated in the White House meeting to discuss ways that the impending federal budget cuts could be halted for education and other domestic policy programs.

The sequester, which is the automatic across-the-board cuts amounting to about 5.1 percent reductions in all federal programs, will take place in March unless Congress approves a new plan. The sequestration was scheduled as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011.

The White House officials said that a total of about $4 trillion needed to be cut from the federal budget over the next 10 years, and were confident that tax increases and budget cuts that were approved to avoid the first deadline on Jan. 2 should cover up to half that amount, although other estimates have put the savings at $1 trillion or less. The White House has pushed for a “balanced, rational approach,” and has lobbied Congress to make changes to the plan, but neither Republican nor Democrat leaders have been able to craft a plan that could pass both chambers of Congress.

“The long-term impact of cuts to education programs, particularly those for students with disabilities and students from low-income homes, would hurt the quality of education in many school districts,” said Gentzel.  “NSBA is committed to working with the White House and members of Congress so that they understand the potential damage these cuts would inflict on our schools and on our nation’s economy.”

The White House advisors also expressed concerns that new plans floated by members of Congress would have a detrimental impact on education and other domestic programs. Specifically, Gentzel said the advisors warned groups to be skeptical of a plan that would give agencies flexibility in how to manage the cuts, as that would not have significant benefits.  They also warned the group that if the sequester takes place, the cuts might not appear to have a large impact immediately, but over the course of the 10-year schedule the reductions would significantly damage the nation’s economic infrastructure.

Michael A. Resnick, NSBA’s Associate Executive Director for Federal Advocacy and Public Policy, estimates that the planned cuts to K-12 programs would only amount to about .0007 percent of the total federal budget.

“Education cuts would have very little impact on the plan to reduce the nation’s deficit, but these cuts would have a dramatic long term effect on local school district budgets,” said Resnick.  “This is not a strategic way of managing the economy.”

Some 700 school boards have passed resolutions to oppose the sequester, and NSBA is encouraging all school board members to contact their members of Congress and urge them to spare education programs. For more information and sample resolutions, visit NSBA’s Stop Sequestration web page.


Joetta Sack-Min|February 11th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized, Educational Legislation, Federal Programs, Educational Finance, Policy Formation, Budgeting, Legislative advocacy, Federal Advocacy|Tags: , , , , , |

Senate amendment would block costly rules on school meals

The U.S. Senate has approved an amendment to an agriculture appropriations bill that will protect the flexibility of school districts in selecting the vegetables served in school lunch and breakfast programs.

NSBA supported the amendment, co-authored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), that blocks the use of 2012 funding to implement “highly prescriptive” requirements on the use of vegetables in school meals, said Lucy Gettman, NSBA’s director of federal programs.

The proposed rules would have limited the servings of some starchy vegetables, such as white potatoes, lima beans, and corn, to one cup per student per week, and banned these vegetables from school breakfasts.

The rules also threatened to increase school district costs for providing meals, and in a letter supporting the Collins-Udall amendment, NSBA expressed concern to senators about the budget impact to local school districts.

“The financial and operational impact on local school districts could be immense at a time when they already are slashing their budgets in response to eroding resources,” NSBA stated. “The proposed rule could therefore force districts to curtail more education programming and take more teachers out of the classroom to pay for it. School district flexibility and authority are needed to assure that meal options are healthy, nutritious, responsive to the needs and preferences of local communities, and are cost-effective.”

NSBA’s letter of support was entered in to the Congressional Record after Sen. Collins mentioned it on the Senate floor, Gettman said.

“NSBA strongly supported the efforts of Sens. Collins, Udall, and others to ensure that school districts retain the flexibility to provide nutritious meals to students,” she said, adding that NSBA would continue to monitor the legislation as it works its way through the Senate. 

Del Stover|October 21st, 2011|Categories: School Boards, Educational Legislation, Nutrition, Legislative advocacy|Tags: , , , , |

As budgets decline, classes swell— and few are protesting

general-meeting_w725_h544It doesn’t seem possible these days, but once upon a time, about 12 or so years ago, California and many other states were flush with cash—not only were they able to pay all their bills, they were actually able to expand and create programs. And one of the biggest and most popular, at least in California, was a program to reduce class sizes in the early elementary grades.

It seemed like a great idea, parents and teachers in particular loved it because they felt the students could get more individualized attention and learn more (of course, the teachers unions weren’t complaining about the influx of new members, too).

Naomi Dillon|August 30th, 2010|Categories: Governance, School Climate, Student Achievement, Policy Formation, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |

Michigan among the hardest hit and longest to recover from recession

What says “Vacation’s Over” for the Hardy family? How about driving south along U.S. 23 between Detroit and Toledo, and reading the outdoor signs.

Considering Bankruptcy? asked one. Then, about a mile down the road: Bats in Your Attic? — presumably from the long-foreclosed-on property next door.

The economic problems of Southeastern Michigan are well known. In April, you may recall, I wrote about the Pontiac School District, which decided to close nearly half its schools in an attempt to eliminate a crushing $10 million deficit.

Pontiac’s money problems may be extreme, but across Michigan, school districts are feeling the squeeze as they suffer from one of the worst state economies in the nation.

We were vacationing about 60 miles south of Traverse City, an absolute gem of a town surrounded by gorgeous sand dunes, pristine waters, and wineries that dot the hills above Lake Michigan.

Paradise? Maybe. But the Traverse City schools are also hurting. For the 2010-11 school year the 9,900-student district is considering a “best-case” shortfall of $6 million and a “worst-case” deficit of $11 million, or about 12 percent of this year’s nearly $90 million budget, according to the Traverse City-Record-Eagle.

This month, the school board set up a task force — which includes teachers, administrators, a school board member, and others — to suggest ways to make these cuts.

Naomi Dillon|August 18th, 2009|Categories: Student Achievement, American School Board Journal|Tags: , |
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