Advocacy Update: Framework Adopted for 2018 and 2019 Federal Spending
February 12, 2018
Congressional leaders have finally reached a long-sought agreement on top-line spending that will pave the way to complete the FY 2018 federal appropriations and budget process. The bipartisan agreement establishes new spending levels for FY 2018 and 2019, and temporarily extends federal funding until March 23 to avoid an additional federal government shutdown. Congress must now put together a larger omnibus spending package that will spell out allocations of funds for the U.S. Department of Education and other agencies through the remainder of the fiscal year.
Overall, the budget agreement will increase defense and domestic spending by roughly $300 billion for two years. The increase in the mandatory spending caps required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 will be split evenly between defense and non-defense discretionary programs. The agreement also fully repeals the 2011 sequestration caps over the next two years and secures an additional $57 billion in new non-defense spending above the caps. The compromise, however, includes several specific spending commitments for disaster relief, including support for schools serving displaced students ($90 billion), and the opioid crisis ($6 billion).
Despite the specific investments listed above that are part of the broader compromise, the current budget agreement does not complete the FY 2018 appropriations process or provide additional clarity around funding levels for key education programs. It does, however, provide appropriators with the information they need to complete the broader spending package over the coming weeks. NYSSBA, in partnership with NSBA, will provide additional information as the omnibus is negotiated.
USED Announces ESSA Funding Flexibility Pilot
Up to fifty school districts can now apply to participate in a pilot program established by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that will allow districts to design local flexibility demonstration agreements under which districts will be able to consolidate eligible Federal education funds with State and local funds in order to develop a student-centered funding system based on weighted per-pupil allocations for low-income and otherwise disadvantaged students. Under a local flexibility demonstration agreement, a district may us the Federal funds allocated through its system more flexibly than under current law, provided the proposal still allows the district to achieve the purposes of each Federal education program supported by the consolidated Federal funds.
The application process opened on February 7, 2018. For districts intending to apply for use during the 2018-2019 school year, the application is due by March 12, 2018. For districts intending to apply for use during the 2019-2020 school year, the application is due by July 15, 2018. Additional information on the pilot program can be accessed below.
In-District Advocacy Visits
Both the New York State Legislature and Congress are in recess over President's day. The NYS Legislature leaves Albany on the 13th and Congress leaves Washington on the 16th. Both remain in-district through the President's day week. If you were not able to join NYSSBA in Washington for NAI or in Albany for the Capital Conference, consider scheduling an in-district visit while your representatives are in town.
Resources to help prepare for these meetings are below. If you need help organizing a meeting, please contact Belinda Heckler directly at 518-783-3742 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit our Key Issues Page, and be sure to follow NYSSBA on Facebook and twitter.