Monday, February 2, 2015

Emerging Issues: engaging your community to action

Deborah Rigsby: NSBA federal advocacy
ESEA issue brief has comparison of current law with Kline bill (passed by House in 2013) with Alexander proposal with NSBA position

bill proposing full funding on IDEA
bill on flexible use of IDEA for high-cost students
Secure Rural schools and community self-determination act
Perkins reauthorization
Charter/vouchers (introduced last week during school choice week)
Engaging early!

HR551: full funding IDEA (introduced by Van Hollen D, MD) introduced Jan. 27
bipartisan sponsorship
ten year path to the 40% promised in special education
a bit over $1700 per student receiving services
costs can be much more expensive particularly for students with multiple disabilities
Huffman (D-CA) for flexibility and greater access to state high-cost funds used to address high-cost students with special needs
(in MA, this is the circuit breaker)
bill to be introduced soon

Secure Rural schools and community self-determination act
$400M to counties with federal forest lands and other non-taxable resources
being reintroduced (effort to include in FY15)
when bill is not reauthorized, payments are not made; reauthorization pays retroactively, previously
HR 3886 introduced in last Congress to exempt from sequestration, plans to reintroduce

S191: Educating Tomorrow's Workforce Act (from Sen. Kaine, D-VA)
career and technical ed
Rep Thompson (R-PA) reauthorizing such ed
Kaine's doesn't provide full reauthorization: if you're getting funding from Perkins, it has to be rigorous, strengthen program requirements
expect a full reauthorization bill soon
Duncan wants districts to form consortiums: grants would require 25% in matching funds from a business

Charter schools
Kline's ESEA reauthorization would include charter schools  (like HR 10 from last year)
S102: from Vitter (R-LA): supported New Orleans recovery zone
S316: from Kirk (R-IL)
and lots more during last week's School Choice week (NSBA still working through what they are and say)
charter schools have their own line item in the budget
Yes NSBA is opposing these.

Outreach: be proactive with emerging issues
Resources for outreach and information:
Center for Public Education
NSBA Advocacy Staff 
asks who has a Twitter account and lots of hands go up (so where are all those people online?)
"it's all social media"
"engage with your member of Congress and get your community engaged; get people on board with that and get calls and contacts coming in)

Rigsby recommends looking at amendments: "this is where you get more and more things that you really need to watch out for"

Deborah Rigsby is drigsby (at)
Matt Spencer is mspencer (at)
or call them at 703-838-6722

Q: infrastructure: federal money for schools?
Qualified Zone Academy Bond: $400M a year to states for bonding authority
can use to do repairs and moderization in your district
automatically qualify with percentage of free/reduced price lunch
10% has to be matched, but it can be in-kind contribution
want to see program expanded

Q:how do we increase funding when entitlements take so much of the budget?
Rigsby: that's called an offset
carryover funds: put it to a higher need
take funding put into competitive grants and create a new program

having a bit of a back and forth about what a charter school is. Depending on which state you're in, they may or may not be locally authorized. 

Q: Chamber of Commerce, other business are opposing grade span testing: how will that change the conversation?
Rigsby: "this is billions of dollars, there is a dollar amount tied to it. You're concerned about student achievement, how do you measure it, how do you warehouse it, do you use it to inform instruction"
testing is used in some states for teacher performance
"has to depend on what you feel comfortable in your state first"
comment here on NSBA's Delegate Assembly, which meets at the annual meeting, this year in Nashville, forming the positions of the NSBA for the year
expect that to come out in committee as amendments

Q: maintenance of effort for IDEA: asking for waiver
Rigsby ask state, rather than fed for waiver

No comments: