Federal Update: U.S. Speaker Boehner to resign; senators champion local school board governance in ESEA rewrite

Source: National School Boards Association (NSBA)

Today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced that he will resign from Congress at the end of October. Speaker Boehner has served in Congress since 1990 and became Speaker of the House in 2011. During his tenure, Speaker Boehner also served as the Chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee for five years and shepherded the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. In fact, Speaker Boehner is the last of the four principal legislative leaders in Congress on NCLB — which included Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and the late Ted Kennedy (D-MA).
 
Senators continue to champion local school board governance in ESEA
Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Angus King (I-ME) continue to champion local school board governance by urging House and Senate committee leaders to retain the local governance provisions in a final bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Senate measure, Amendment No. 2070, passed unanimously during deliberations of S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act. The three co-sponsors of this amendment forwarded a letter to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), as well as House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Senior Democratic Member Bobby Scott (D-VA).
 
The tripartisan amendment recognizes the importance of local decision making and would counteract the trend of federal overreach by protecting the role of local governance in school administration and ensuring that the U.S. Department of Education obtains important input from local stakeholders before issuing non-regulatory guidance.
 
Click here to view a comparison of the House and Senate ESEA bills and click here to view NSBA’s Title I Portability paper that provides background information on related provisions in H.R. 5, the Student Success Act. Please urge your members of Congress to continue the momentum to modernize ESEA by using NSBA’s Legislative Action Center.
 
Federal funding for education
House and Senate Leaders began to negotiate a stop-gap funding measure to prevent a government shutdown at the end of this month. While House and Senate Appropriations Committees have reported their respective bills to fund education and other programs in fiscal year 2016, there is concern about budget caps that would impose another round of across- the-board cuts through sequestration. Therefore the proposed stop-gap funding measure, also known as a Continuing Resolution (CR), would fund the federal government beyond the end of the fiscal year. Hopefully, this will allow time to address sequestration and sustain federal investments for key programs such as Title I grants and special education. 
 
NSBA and more than 2,500 organizations forwarded a national coalition letter to Congress this month urging action to replace the sequester “with a balanced approach to deficit reduction that takes into account the deep cuts (programs have) already incurred.” 
 
As reported previously, the House Appropriations Committee’s underlying bill for education programs (H.R. 3020) would raise the federal investment in special education grants under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by $500 million over FY2015 and would sustain funding for Title I grants for disadvantaged students. The Senate Appropriations Committee’s bill (S. 1695) would also increase the IDEA investment by $125 million and would provide an additional $150 million to Title I grants.  In other areas, School Improvement Grants (currently funded at roughly $505 million) would be eliminated under the House bill.

About mnmsba

The Minnesota School Boards Association, a leading advocate for public education, supports, promotes and strengthens the work of public school boards.
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