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
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
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
Among other state budget actions, the Joint Finance Committee voted along party-lines last week to transfer $22 million in federal e-rate funds (which are meant to support telecommunications services in schools and libraries–the “e” in e-rate stands for “education”) in each year of the budget to the Broadband Expansion Grant Program. The amount transferred is $19.8 million more than what the Governor’s budget had proposed.
While this may be viewed by some as good news for rural areas that currently lack adequate broadband (high-speed internet) connections, it could spell concerns for schools and libraries in the future. Continue reading Recent state and federal moves on e-rate funds raise caution flags
While there are relatively few things about public education funding that governors, state legislators and school board members from across the political spectrum agree on, one of them is likely that the federal government is under-funding special education in this country.
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. Continue reading Encourage Congress to fully fund IDEA
Partial Government Shutdown Continues as New Congress Begins
The 116th Congress convened last week and the House immediately turned attention to approving an appropriations bill designed to end the partial government shutdown, triggered by the White House’s budget request for $5 billion to expand the southern border wall. The House measure, approved Thursday evening (Jan. 3), did not include funding for wall. The House vote shifts the budget debate back to the Senate where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has stated that he will not bring any Fiscal Year 2019 legislation to the Senate floor that does not have the President’s support. Continue reading How will partial federal government shutdown affect K-12 schools, students?
This is the second of a series of blog posts that takes a look at special education requirements and funding, including both state and federal funding. This post focuses on federal funding.
When state and federal mandates to provide special education service were first imposed on local school districts back in the 1970s, it was generally assumed that targeted state and federal funding that went along with these mandates would cover much, if not all, of the costs of providing special education services to students with disabilities. That assumption was quickly proven wrong. Continue reading A closer look at Special Education funding in Wisconsin—Part two of a series