Federal Issues

KASB conducts workshop on recent special education decision

More than 70 educators from across the state gathered at KASB on Monday to learn about the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on special education. Sarah Loquist, KASB attorney, led a workshop on the Endrew F. v Douglas County (Colorado) School District ruling in which the court set a higher standard for schools to follow in providing education to students with disabilities. Loquist said the previous standard to determine whether a student received appropriate education services was based on showing merely more than minimal progress. The new standard is more ambitious. The unanimous decision states that "every child should have the...

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NSBA: Obamacare repeal bill raises concerns about serving students with special needs

The National School Boards Association says the bill passed last week by the U.S. House of Representatives, the American Health Care Act (HR 1628), which repeals and replaces provisions of the Affordable Care Act, ("Obamacare") could jeopardize services to students with special needs. The bill includes significant changes to the Medicaid program. According to NSBA if passed into law, the AHCA will: Impose a per-capita cap on Medicaid funding provided to states, which will cause states to ration health care services to children. Force schools to compete with other medical providers for limited funding. Shift the bulk of the mandated...

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NSBA advises school leaders to stay aware of movement on federal health care

The indication by U.S. House Republicans that they are continuing efforts to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act could have ramifications for Kansas school districts, especially in how the federal government funds its share of Medicaid. The previous version of the GOP plan stalled amid in-fighting amongst Republicans. Called the American Health Care Act, it proposed a per capita cap on federal Medicaid payments to states, thus jeopardizing the Medicaid funding schools receive to provide healthcare services to students, including students with disabilities. Significantly, the per capita cap in the previous legislation was set at a lower level than healthcare...

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House passes AHCA that cuts Medicaid to schools

The U.S. House of Representatives, with the support of the Kansas House delegation, passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would cut Medicaid funding that schools use to serve special education and other students. The vote on HR 1628, which is the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, was 217-213; 216 votes were needed for passage. Kansas Representatives Roger Marshall, Lynn Jenkins, Kevin Yoder and Ron Estes all voted for HR 1628. One section of the AHCA cuts $880 billion in Medicaid funding to schools over the next 10 years, a 25 percent reduction in...

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School Medicaid funding at risk in ACA repeal

The National School Board Association and 59 other organizations are urging Congress to oppose HR 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which would cut Medicaid funding that schools use to serve special education and other students. The vote on the bill, which is the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, is scheduled for today. One section of the AHCA cuts $880 billion in Medicaid funding to schools over the next 10 years, a 25 percent reduction in the reimbursement schools receive for in-school services such as speech, physical therapy and behavioral therapy. It will also...

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NSBA update 2017 federal budget

Early Monday, congressional leaders filed a consolidated appropriations bill (H.R. 244) to fund education and other programs throughout the remainder of FY2017. The text of the bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education is available here. The House Committee on Rules is scheduled to consider the bill today, in order to establish the terms and conditions for House floor debate that is expected Wednesday. Overall, the FY 2017 omnibus bill (H.R. 244) results in a net cut of $1.1 billion compared with comparable 2016 funding levels, but the bill would provide more than a $1...

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Take Action Now: Obamacare Repeal would hurt students with disabilities; NSBA urges ‘No’ vote

The National School Boards Association is urging education advocates to call their U.S. House members and urge them to vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act, a vote which may come up as early as Wednesday. The following news release was issued by NSBA: ACT NOW: OBAMACARE REPEAL CUTS MEDICAID FUNDING FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS This Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives will be moving forward to consider legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare." After a month of negotiations and changes to the original bill filed in March, House members plan to vote on the American Health Care...

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Trump signs executive order on federal education regulations

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order allowing U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to propose getting rid of any federal regulations she determines intrude unlawfully on state and local control of public schools. National School Board Association President Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Gentzel said NSBA was “encouraged” that the executive order was “reaffirming the state and local role in K-12 education decision making” and looked forward to working with the administration in reviewing the federal provisions and requirements. “Restoring governance to local decision-makers, including school boards which represent their community’s beliefs and values and know...

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Proposed changes to E-Rate could negatively impact low-income and rural areas

Proposed changes to a program that provides federal subsidies for education technology to schools could result in less support for schools and libraries in low-income areas, according to the National School Board Association. The Federal Communications Commission is considering changes to the E-Rate program, which provides $3.9 billion in subsidies to schools, libraries and communities for broadband/internet access and internal connections. Policymakers are considering a new per pupil distribution formula which could affect students, especially in rural areas, in the following ways:  It would impact a cornerstone of the E-Rate program: equitable distribution of E-rate discounts that focuses funding on those...

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Special: Kansas schools could lose critical funding under Trump budget proposal

If President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint for the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) is enacted, Kansas schools could lose $60 million in federal funding that supports smaller class sizes, after-school and summer school programs and the education of military-connected children. The proposal also adds $1.4 billion in increased funding for school choice programs. Federal funding comprises roughly 8 percent of the state’s education revenue stream. The Trump administration released its budget blueprint in mid-March. The preliminary document sets overall goals and key priorities for federal agencies, with detailed departmental budgets scheduled to be released next month. While Congress traditionally...

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