Earlier this morning, AASA sent a letter to the House Rules Committee as they prepare to consider the 74 amendments filed for consideration.
There are 13 members on the rules committee from the following states:Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Utah. If you are from one of these states, please contact the representative (committee roster here!) and ask them to allow full floor consideration of the Thompson ACE amendment and the Takano maintenance of effort amendment and to deny consideration of any Title I portability amendment (There are 3 proposed!). Full talking points can be found in the letter linked above. Below is the email AASA sent to the committee, along with the full letter.
As the House Rules Committee prepares to consider submitted amendments in relation to the Student Success Act (HR 5), I have attached AASA’s position on the base bill and three key policy areas for which we recommend specific action through amendment. AASA: The School Superintendents Association represents more than 10,000 school system leaders across the nation. We support HR 5, but there are a few areas that stand improvement through amendment: Title I formula fairness/number weighting; maintenance of effort; and Title I portability/vouchers:
AASA urges the Rules Committee to approve:
- All Children Are Equal (ACE) Act (Thompson, Amendment #45): AASA supports the ACE Act, which aims to address inequities within the Title I formula that result in larger, less poor districts receiving high per-pupil Title I awards. The current Title I formulas include an unintended flaw that results in larger, less-poor districts receiving more Title I funding per child than their smaller, poorer counterparts. The weighting mechanisms within two of the Title I formulas are skewed in a way that disproportionately drives dollars away from small rural (and small urban) districts who often have a larger concentration of poverty. The ACE act would correct this formula snafu to ensure that all Title I dollars are targeted to concentrations of poverty. AASA has the data available at the school and congressional district level; please email me if you are interested in seeing the impact on your district (my email address is below).
- Maintenance of Effort (Takano, Amendment #38): AASA supports current law, which includes Maintenance of Effort (MoE) requirements for both state and local education agencies. Current law strikes an important balance between providing state and local education agencies with the flexibility they need to adjust to changing fiscal realities and holding state and local agencies responsible for maintaining their investment in critical education programs. The elimination of MoE (as included in HR 5) is problematic. Poorer districts receive a larger share of their operating budget from state revenues, and absent MoE requirements, states would be free to significantly reduce their expenditure beyond the current 10%. Local school districts would be left on the hook to cover the state reductions. MoE should not force local school districts, particularly low-wealth districts, to compensate for reductions in state effort. AASA supports the Takano amendment.
AASA urges the Rules Committee to OPPOSE:
- Federal Funding (Title I) Portability (Bishop #60; Cantor #30; Salmon #74): AASA opposes any effort to make Title I funds portable; we are committed to the belief that Title I dollars are designed to support public schools in their work to combat the adverse impacts of concentrated poverty. Beyond being a thinly veiled approach to vouchers, portability runs counter to the original intent of Title I. Diluting the impact of a federal program designed to address concentrations of student poverty to the individual student level is antithetical to the original intent of Title I. Further, portability has the effect of directing dollars away from the very schools that need —and stand to gain the most from—Title I dollars.