Advocacy Update: Congress Passes Appropriations for the Remainder of FY 2017
May 5, 2017
Earlier this week, the House and the Senate each passed a consolidated appropriations bill, H.R.244, funding federal programs, including public education, thorough the end of the federal fiscal year (September 30, 2017).
Despite an overall cut of $1.1 billion to Department of Education programs, most major K-12 programs saw increases over FY 2016, despite concerns that the President's "skinny budget" cuts could be addressed in the 2017 spending plan. Cuts were instead concentrated in higher education programs. The bill included:
The President is expected to sign the bill shortly. As soon as state level funding information is available, NYSSBA will make that available to you. A summary of the bill posted by the Senate Appropriations Committee is included below.
ESSA State Plan Release and Hearings
Next week, the Board of Regents will release the first draft of the new state accountability system for public comment. Following the release, the State Education Department will hold a series of hearings around the state to hear from stakeholders about the plan. The full schedule and SED press release is below. The first hearing will take place Thursday, May 11th in Dix Hills. NYSSBA will provide resources and talking points as soon as the plan is available. However, we wanted to alert you to the schedule and encourage board members to participate. It is critical that school board voices be heard as the state plan is reviewed.
American Health Care Act Passes House of Representatives
Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, which would repeal and replace significant portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Should the Senate act on this bill, school districts and their students would be directly impacted, as states would no longer have to consider districts eligible Medicaid providers. Moreover, the bill includes per-capita caps that would reduce the amount of funding flowing to states like New York, and our students. Many districts depend on Medicaid reimbursement to provide mandated special education services. Elimination of the funding stream will not eliminate the mandate to provide the services. NSBA joined with 59 other organizations on a letter outlining the effect this provision would have on school districts. That letter is listed below. The Senate has yet to take up this bill and is currently expected to draft a new proposal.
Excelsior Scholarship Program
The recently enacted state budget included funding to establish the Excelsior Scholarship program, which will provide free tuition to qualifying students attending SUNY and CUNY schools. Details about the program for district staff and students can be found below. Applications will be available on June 7th.
2017 Resolution Kit
The 2017 Resolution Kit is now available. Please review and consider submitting a resolution for consideration at the 2017 Annual Business Meeting. As a reminder the deadline for resolution submission is close of business July 10, 2017.
NYSSBA's Governmental Relations team will keep you up to date on these and other issues.
For more information, visit our Key Issues Page, and be sure to follow NYSSBA on Facebook and Twitter.