National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition 2016 Legislative Agenda
The legislative priorities of NREAC.
NREAC 2016 Legislative Agenda
For 2016, NREAC identified the following major federal
Focus on Rural Schools and
NREAC urges Congress to maintain formula grants to provide a more
reliable stream of funding to local school districts.
NREAC beseeches Congress to provide incentives, rather than unfunded
mandates, to catalyze school improvement efforts in rural districts.
NREAC believes any competitive funds slated for a ‘rural set-aside’ or
‘rural-only’ competition should instead be directed to the Rural Education
Achievement Program, a proven formula program that supports rural school
NREAC prioritizes the restoration to pre-sequester levels and opposes
any across-the-board cuts.
NREAC supports a federal role that prioritizes investment in Title I
and IDEA, recognizing them as the federal flagship initiatives. In light of the
failure of federal and state governments to maintain special education funding,
districts should be provided greater flexibility to meet the needs of all
Every Student Succeeds Act
NREAC urges the U.S. Department of Education to expedite the
promulgation of regulations on ESSA, to take care to consider the needs and
capacity of rural schools when proposing new regulations, and to ensure that
any regulations issued are consistent with the spirit and scope of the law.
NREAC believes ESSA regulations should emphasize that that states are
empowered to make assessment and accountability decisions for local school
NREAC strongly supports maintaining E-Rate as an element of the
Universal Service Fund.
NREAC supports efforts at the federal level to address the homework gap
through expanded access to connectivity at home.
NREAC supports reimbursing schools when federal food service requirements
result in loss of revenue.
NREAC recommends giving districts the option to waive out of unfunded
federal food service requirements.
NREAC believes all licensing and certification requirements for school
nutrition workers are a state responsibility.
NREAC opposes efforts to increase the administrative burden around
eligibility for free and reduced lunch
NREAC believes Perkins CTE funds should remain formula based to states
NREAC believes Perkins should incentivize states to assist districts in
providing more effective career counseling and exploration activities.
NREAC strongly supports efforts to streamline the local plan and reduce
paperwork and reporting requirements.
NREAC believes all school districts have a responsibility to maintain a
safe and healthy learning environment for students, but geographic and economic
challenges in rural communities make this reality more difficult.
NREAC wants to ensure RELs are funded to provide high quality research
to rural schools
NREAC supports efforts at the federal level to assist rural districts in
recruiting and retaining teachers and school personnel in hard to staff
positions through loan forgiveness programs targeted at rural communities and
NREAC supports a greater federal investment in early education through
the coordination and support of new and already existing school-based and
NREAC supports efforts to ensure Qualified Zone Academy Bonds are
readily available to rural schools.
NREAC opposes any and all attempts to create adopt ‘backpack funding’
approaches to distributing federal funding at the state and local level or any
policy that would allow federal funds to private schools.
NREAC supports the reauthorization and re-funding of the
Secure Rural Schools program.