Comment on Changes to The Federal School Meals Programs! (updated February, 26 2020)

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Comment on Changes to The Federal School Meals Programs!

As was previously highlighted, in January, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced newly proposed regulations to the National School Lunch (NSLP) and School Breakfast Programs (SBP). 

The good news is that USDA's proposal is aimed at providing school districts with more administrative and nutritional flexibilities around the federal school meals programs, and if passed, will increase local school systems' control of their SBP and NSLP. Specifically, USDA intends to accomplish this through a three-pronged strategy that would offer schools more time to comply with the programs' compliance requirements, relax the programs' nutritional provisions regarding fruits and vegetables, and modify the Smart Snack in Schools Rule, so that districts' can sell revenue-raising competitive foods for longer periods of time.

At a time when school districts are being asked to do more to improve their school meal delivery systems with fewer resources, this regulation takes the correct approach in moving the needle by improving local systems operation of the federal school meals programs. However, to get this regulation across the finish line, we'll need our membership to weigh-in and let USDA know that the proposed regulation has broad support from superintendents and other school system leaders. We urge you all to let your voices be heard by following the directions below to comment on the regulation.

  1. Copy this template and fill in the highlighted fields with the requested information.
  2. Click here, and then select "Upload files," 
  3. Fill out "First Name", "Last Name", and under category select "School district"
  4. Click "Continue"
  5. On the next page, please mark the box stating, "I read and understand the statement above."
  6. Click "Submit Comment"

Comments are due on or before March 23, 2020 at 11:59 pm ET. If you are pressed for time or need help submitting the comments, AASA staff can submit them on your behalf. To do this, please reach out to Chris Rogers directly at crogers@aasa.org

February 28, 2020

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AASA’s 2020 Legislative Agenda is Finalized

On February 12th AASA’s Governing Board voted to approve the 2020 Legislative Agenda. You can access it here.

February 26, 2020

(RURAL EDUCATION, ED FUNDING) Permanent link

Comments on the Study of District and School Uses of Federal Education Funds

The Department of Education is conducting a comprehensive study on how districts use Title and IDEA funding and AASA has submitted comments on their proposed Study of District and School Uses of Federal Education Funds.

How are states spending their funding? With regards to resources, specific groups of students, underperformance, and salaries.

How are the dollars being broken down and allocated under Title IV and how are the three funding options – increased accessed to a well-rounded curriculum, safe and healthy students, and increased effectivity of technology within schools – being addressed in this study.

Of particular and pressing interest, how will spending related to the REAP program be allocated? As this program is already facing major cutbacks and changes, it is important to know how this data takes this into account.

Click  here to read AASA’s full letter. 

February, 26 2020

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AASA Releases 2019-20 Superintendent Salary & Benefits Study

As the nation celebrates Public Schools Week, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, is pleased to release its eighth annual superintendent salary study.

 

This year's report - the 2019-20 AASA Superintendent Salary & Benefits Study - is based on more than 1,300 responses and gauges the compensation, benefits, and critical demands of urban, suburban and rural school system leaders across the nation.

 

To make this year's study a resource not only superintendents but for those aspiring to reach the superintendency, the report will be released in two versions: a full version for AASA members and an abridged version for wider circulation. We hope that this increases access to this valuable data on the working conditions of the nation's superintendency.

 

Click here to access a copy of the 2019-20 AASA Superintendent Salary & Benefits Study. AASA members can access the full member-only version through My.AASA.org. If you have any questions about the survey, please contact AASA's policy analyst Chris Rogers (crogers@aasa.org). 

February 18, 2020

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New School Safety Website Launched

Created partially in response to the March 2018 Parkland School shooting, the Federal School Safety Clearinghouse website SchoolSafety.gov was launched last week by the Trump Administration. The site will serve as a resource center for teachers, parents, and law enforcement and allow them to “identify, prepare for, and mitigate threats” according to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf. To help prepare schools, the site will also have a Safety Readiness Tool that will assess school safety and assist in creating action plans to suit individual school needs. Though developed primarily for K-12 administrators, SchoolSafety.gov is available to the American public where they can review guidelines and best practices - among many other resources - that will help make and keep schools safe. “Every child should feel safe at school, and every parent should feel their child is safe each day…” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and SchoolSafety.gov aims to make this sentiment a reality.

To read the full release, click here

February 14, 2020

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PowerPoints of Policy and Advocacy Sessions at NCE

We are thrilled to have such a great turnout at our policy and advocacy sessions at NCE and know many folks who visited with us (as well as supts who couldn't stop by) are eager for copies of our PowerPoint presentations, so here they are:

Federal Advocacy Update 

Education in the Election 

Vouchers: Everything You Never Wanted to Know and More 

Counting Young Children In the Census

Why Rural Matters Report

2020 State of the Superintendency

February 12, 2020(1)

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AASA Responds to President’s FY21 Budget Proposal

Earlier this week, the president released his budget proposal for federal fiscal year 20201 (FY21 runs from Oct 1 2020 through September 30, 2021; FY21 dollars will be in school for the 21-22 school year). The budget continues his trend of introducing federal budget proposals that fall short of the simple willingness and ability to prioritize support for strengthening and supporting our nation’s public schools and the students they serve.  AASA remains concerned about his chronic lack of support and funding for programs that are fundamental to supporting students and children. The FY21 budget proposal continues to prioritize privatization, at the direct expense of the nation’s public schools and the 50 million students they serve every day. The proposal’s FY21 education details would fund USED at $66.6 billion (A cut of $5.6 billion, or 7.8%). Quick summary:

  • One of the pillars of the FY21 proposal would consolidate 29 programs within the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into one large, single block grant, funded at $19.4 billion (a cut of $4.7 billion from the current funding levels of the programs to be consolidated).
  • The budget increases funding for IDEA state grants by $100 million (0.8%). This brings the federal commitment to fully fund IDEA (by funding 40% of the additional costs of educating students with special needs) to just 13%, less than half of their authorized amount.
  • The budget increases funding for Career and Technical Education by $763 million.
  • The budget includes $5 billion for annual federal tax credits to support education privatization, such as vouchers.
  • The budget for the US Department of Agriculture includes a proposal to restrict participating in the Community Eligibility Programs. CEP currently allows schools and districts with high enrolments of students who quality for free/reduced priced meals to provide free meals to all students. The budget proposal would restrict participation by only allowing individual schools where at least 40% of students qualify for the meal programs. 

Read our full analysis here, as well as the statement from AASA executive director Dan Domenech. 

February 12, 2020

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AASA Leads Allied Organization Letter on EPA's proposed LCR

On February 12, 2020, AASA submitted an allied organization letter - with 14 other groups - on the EPA's proposed changes to the Lead and Copper Rule. You can view this letter here.

As we've highlighted in our previous blog posts, the proposed reg, would for the first time, require water utility companies to test for the prevalence of lead in drinking water at schools and childcare facilities.

The comment period on the proposed rule is set to close tonight at midnight ET. AASA was proud to lead this effort and elevate the voice of school system leaders on this topic. That said, we need all hands on deck to let the EPA know that if the federal government is mandating these tests, then they also need to create federal funding streams for districts to remediate lead once it's found. As such, we urge you to let your voice be heard on this issue before the comment period ends tonight. You can find directions on how to submit comments on this proposal – as well as a filling template – by clicking here.

February 6, 2020

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Schools Should Be Included in House Dems Infrastructure Package

During the last few weeks, House Democrats have signaled a renewed interest in moving a major infrastructure package to the floor. In late January, Democrat leaders unveiled a new $760 billion infrastructure framework that focused on rebuilding roadways, airport terminals, incomplete broadband networks and rail and water systems. Missing from the package was critical school infrastructure legislation championed by House Education Committee Chairman Bobby Scott which AASA and many other education groups have heartily endorsed. 
The Rebuild America's School Act, which was advanced out of the House Education Committee a year ago, would create a 10-year $70 billion grant program and a $30 billion tax credit bond program to build schools in high poverty areas. 

We plan to continue to push Democrat lawmakers to incorporate this legislation into their infrastructure package as it moves through the House and encourage Republicans to support the package as well. 

February 5, 2020

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NCE is 1 Week Away- Check Out the Policy Sessions

If you're joining us in sunny San Diego next week we have a great line up of federal policy sessions for you to sink your teeth into. 

Looking for the perfect strategy for maximizing your intake of policy issues? Try starting your day off at 9 am with AASA's federal education update where attendees will get updated on all of the latest policy issues, and a look into what's coming down the pipeline in 2020. At noon, political enthusiasts can attend the Federal Relations luncheon to devour the latest data on federal elections and public opinion polling focused on hotbed educational issues like class size, parental involvement, and teacher pay. Finally, attendees can top off the day at 3 pm with a discussion on vouchers lead by me. 

On Friday, February 14 attendees can kick off their day at 8 am to learn the importance of counting all children in the Census and the impact a successful count (or an unsuccessful one) could have on district finances for the next ten years. Then check out the Why Rural Matters 2019 session at 12:45 to see the latest state-by-state data regarding rural education issues. Attendees can then close out the day with a session on the AASA 2020 State of the Superintendency Report at 3:45 pm, where Chris will be doing a deep dive into the results of the 2020 Decennial Survey and discussing the educational trends that are most affecting superintendents.

Looking to burn off some energy this conference? Noelle will lead you through the second “Officially Unofficial Fun Run” at 6:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 15, open to all fitness levels and paces. Find details here!

And if you want all the session details in our place check out this nifty flyer

February 4, 2020

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New Federal Grants Available for SROs and Safety Hardware

The STOP School Violence Act of 2018 gave the COPS Office authority to provide awards to improve security at schools and on school grounds through evidence-based school safety programs. Applications for SVPP can be submitted by a state, unit of local government or public school system.  

Recipients of SVPP funding must use funding for the benefit of K-12, primary and secondary schools and students. SVPP funding will provide up to 75% funding for the following school safety measures in and around K-12 schools and school grounds.

There is up to $50 million in funding is available for FY 2020 SVPP. The deadline to apply is April 8, 2020.

Grants can be used for:

Coordination with law enforcement

Training for local law enforcement officers to prevent student violence against others and self

Metal detectors, locks, lighting, and other deterrent measures

Technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency

Any other measure that the COPS Office determines may provide a significant improvement in security

 Click here for the Quick Start Application user guide for SVPP.