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
Recently, the U.S. House passed its version of the federal farm bill, including an amendment requiring the Secretary of Agriculture to review the Obama-era federal regulations that set nutrition standards and issue new regulations for school lunch and breakfast programs that will provide greater flexibility to school districts.
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is working to ensure the school nutrition amendment is included in the final version of the farm bill. If your district has specific examples of how the current school nutrition regulations are negatively affecting your school meal programs or student participation, please send them to Dan Rossmiller or Chris Kulow and we will forward this information to the NSBA to use to advocate for the inclusion of the amendment in the final version of the bill. Continue reading School input on lunch regulations requested as Congress finalizes farm bill
From NSBA: Urgent Request for Letters of Support and Local Examples re: School-Based Medicaid Reimbursement
The U.S. Senate is poised to make public its version of the health care reform bill that is being negotiated among a group of senior Senate Republicans as early as tomorrow (Thursday, June 22).
The WASB has noted in previous posts regarding similar House legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare), efforts to significantly curtail Medicaid spending as part of this legislation have triggered concerns about the impact such cuts would likely have on schools and how services for students with disabilities would be funded. Continue reading Letters of Support Requested for School-Based Medicaid Reimbursement
The U.S. House of Representatives voted today (Thursday May 4) to approve a bill to repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act (a/k/a “Obamacare”) with new legislation known as the American Health Care Act (ACHA). The measure was passed on a 217-213 vote.
Among other things, the ACHA would make profound changes to the state-federal partnership program known as Medicaid or Medical Assistance, including reducing by $880 billion the amount of federal Medicaid dollars to states. These changes would significantly impact the ability of students with disabilities and students in poverty to receive critically necessary health services in public schools. The changes would require schools to compete for limited Medicaid funding, which would likely result in arbitrary caps on the amount of Medicaid reimbursements made to public schools.
Continue reading U.S. House Passes Obamacare Repeal Bill, Deep Cuts to Medicaid Will Impact Special Education
Federal Judge Amos Mazzant, of the Eastern District of Texas granted a preliminary injunction Nov. 22 that delays implementation of a regulation set to take effect next week, on Dec. 1, that would raise the salary threshold under which many workers qualify for overtime. The injunction will remain in place while the Court determines the U.S. Department of Labor’s authority to impose the rule and the rule’s validity.
Under the new standard most salaried workers earning up to $47,476 a year must receive time-and-a-half overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours during a week. That’s more than double the current salary threshold for overtime eligibility of $23,660. There are concerns that this 100% increase in the salary threshold and the accelerated implementation of the requirement exceeds the fiscal capacity of many school districts. Continue reading Court Blocks New Federal Overtime Rule