Category Archives: Federal Issue

WASB joins 40 other state school boards associations opposing FCC’s proposed E-Rate cap

The WASB has joined with at least 40 other state school board associations in signing onto a joint letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) opposing the Federal Communication Commission’s proposed cap on the Universal Service Fund (USF) and a sub-cap on the Schools and Libraries (E-Rate) and Rural Health Care Programs.  Federal E-Rate allocations play a vital role in helping to fund connecting schools to high-speed broadband.  (See previous post.)

In addition, the WASB will be submitting additional, separate comments of its own. The deadline for submitting comments under the current reply comment period ends Monday (Aug 26) at 11:00 p.m. CDT.   We will post the WASB’s comments to this blog as soon as they are finished so that any board wishing to submit its own comments can use the WASB’s comments in fashioning those comments.

Continue reading WASB joins 40 other state school boards associations opposing FCC’s proposed E-Rate cap

Advocacy Alert: Urge Congress to fully fund IDEA

A renewed push is now underway for Congress to fully fund the federal commitment under the federal special education law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  You can join in that effort.

With Congress currently in the middle of its August recess period, most members are back in their districts.  This is a great time to contact your U.S. Representative or U.S. Senator and urge them to support bi-partisan legislation—called the IDEA Full Funding Act—that would authorize a 10-year plan to get us to full funding of IDEA. You can get helpful information about contacting your members of Congress from the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA’s) advocacy webpage here   Continue reading Advocacy Alert: Urge Congress to fully fund IDEA

What school board members should know about the U.S. Census

Next year’s U.S. Census, known as Census 2020, will be the 24th decennial census.  National Census Day, the reference day used for the census count, will be April 1, 2020.

The census provides a snapshot of national, state and local demographics. The data collected help the federal government decide where to focus its attention and resources (i.e., funding).  For that reason, ensuring an accurate census count is important for states and schools.

Studies suggest that states can lose between $1,000 and $1,300 for each person not counted. Continue reading What school board members should know about the U.S. Census

Feds release updated income eligibility levels for school meals

From the DPI: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service updated the income eligibility guidelines for meals served at schools and day care programs based on federal poverty levels.

“The income guidelines, updated annually, are effective July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020. The guidelines apply to student eligibility for free and reduced‑price school meals offered through the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs and milk offered through the Special Milk Program along with reimbursement for meals served in day care centers and family child care homes participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Continue reading Feds release updated income eligibility levels for school meals

Congress, White House reach federal budget deal

President Trump and Congressional leaders reached a federal budget deal last night, with the announcement coming via a Presidential tweet. The agreement, which still needs to pass Congress, comes days before Congress is set to leave town for its August recess.

One key feature of the deal is that it calls for raising limits on federal discretionary spending by $320 billion. Only about $77 billion of the new spending authorized by the deal would be offset by spending cuts, less than the $150 billion in spending cuts the White House had called for earlier. Under the package, both defense spending and non-defense spending, including spending for education programs, would increase. Continue reading Congress, White House reach federal budget deal

State Congressmen express concerns about FCC’s proposed E-Rate cap; Comment period extended–Still time to weigh in

In a letter  to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Wisconsin Congressmen Mark Pocan (D-WI 2nd) and Ron Kind (D-WI 3rd) raised concerns about the proposed cap on federal E-Rate allocations that are used to fund school connectivity to high-speed broadband (see previous post) as well as the overall cap on the Universal Service Fund (USF), which supplies E-Rate funds.  The two joined with several other House members in expressing concerns.

Continue reading State Congressmen express concerns about FCC’s proposed E-Rate cap; Comment period extended–Still time to weigh in

Special update on E-Rate and broadband: FCC considers cap on Universal Service Fund

As we noted in an earlier post, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing an overall cap on Universal Service Fund (USF) revenue and a sub-cap on USF allocations to the E-Rate and Rural Health Care programs. We are concerned these actions could potentially damage these important programs, and especially E-Rate.

The FCC has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on its proposal, which could force the four programs funded under USF, including E-Rate, to battle each other for funds. The FCC is calling for comments by a July 15 deadline with reply comments due thirty days later. This is an especially tough deadline for schools to meet, as most are out for the summer and, chances are, few teachers and administrators are focused on federal policy making. Continue reading Special update on E-Rate and broadband: FCC considers cap on Universal Service Fund