Last week Congress avoided a possible shutdown of the federal government when it approved and sent to President Trump a consolidated appropriations bill (H.R. 244) to fund public education and other federal programs throughout the remainder of federal Fiscal Year 2017, which runs through Sept. 30. The so-called “omnibus” bill (H.R. 244) was passed by the House of Representatives on a vote of 309-118 and by the U.S. Senate on a vote of 79-18. It was signed into law by President Trump on May 5.
Overall, in the education area, the FY 2017 omnibus bill, makes net cuts of about $1.1 billion, but provides a more than a $1 billion increase compared with comparable 2016 funding levels for Title I grants for disadvantaged students, special education, Impact Aid, and student support programs under Title IV (ESSA). The text of the bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education is available here. Continue reading President Signs Spending Bill to Fund Federal Government Thru Sept. 30
- 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 over the next 10 years the amount of Medicaid dollars the federal government sends 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
A new report from the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) examines the growing impact the proliferation of private school choice programs such as vouchers and Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) is having on public school districts. The report focuses specifically on the obligation of public schools to provide federally funded “equitable services” to private school students under IDEA and Title I.
The report, entitled, “Private School Choice Programs Are Growing and Can Complicate Providing Certain Federally Funded Services to Eligible Students” recommends that “given the growing number of private school choice programs, the Secretary of Education should incorporate information about providing equitable services in the context of private school choice programs into guidance.” According to the report, the U.S. Department of Education agrees with this recommendation. Continue reading New GAO Report Examines Rapid Voucher Growth Across Nation
The U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced today the award of nearly $14 million in five-year grants to operate 40 parent training and information centers to assist America’s families of children with disabilities.
The centers will provide parents with details and assistance on laws, policies and research-based education practices for children with disabilities. They will inform parents how data can be used to guide instruction; how to interpret results from evaluations and assessments; and ways to effectively engage in school reform activities.
In Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Family Assistance Center for Education, Training and Support (Wisconsin FACETS) will receive a $350,726 grant. The grants are being funded by the USED’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and are authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Read More: USED News Release