National issues of ESEA authorization and FERPA law updates are awaiting action

National issues of ESEA authorization and FERPA law updates are awaiting action

Balancing Access and Privacy in Update of FERPA Law

The 1974 Federal Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) is under bipartisan review by the House Education & the Workforce Committee, and NSBA recommendations call for preventing undue burden on school districts.  School boards and their attorneys recognize that the law needs a fresh approach, one that reflects the new and emerging reality of how schools collect, store, manage and work with student information in the 21st century. NSBA calls for an update that minimizes undue burden on school districts and remains relevant and applicable to ever-evolving technology tools, school practices, and societal norms.

While the timeframe for introducing a bill is not firm, the Committee could take up a bill prior to the August recess.

Elementary and Secondary Education (ESEA) Reauthorization 

The Student Success Act (H.R. 5) and the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), the House and Senate bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), await floor votes in their respective chambers.  The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is completing its report on S. 1177, which was passed unanimously by the Committee in April.  We anticipate a number of amendments regarding the Title I grant program for disadvantaged students, as well as others regarding graduation rates, school climate, and more.

As we await the House and Senate floor action and subsequent House-Senate conference committee negotiations to reconcile differences between the two bills, please continue the dialogue with your members of Congress and encourage further action to modernize ESEA.  Find a sample message at the NSBA Legislative Action Center, which you can use for talking points in your meetings, telephone calls and emails to your members of Congress and their staff.  NSBA’s comparison chart regarding the House and Senate ESEA bills provides further details.

Secure Rural Schools Program Payments 

As an from May 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has processed payments to states for Fiscal Year 2014, pursuant to Congress’ recent two-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) and Community Self-Determination Act.

The Secure Rural Schools program provides $285 million in payments in lieu of property tax revenues to more than 775 rural counties and 4,400 schools located near national forests and reserves throughout the country.  Because these national forests and other federal properties are exempt from property taxes, this program provides federal payments to the respective jurisdictions to help support public schools, forest health projects and other governmental operations.  View the payment information.

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