Weekly Federal Update

Weekly Federal Update

NSBA and Governors Join with Other Organizations Calling for Immediate Education Relief
Today in a unified effort, NSBA, representing local elected school board members, and the National Governors Association (NGA), representing the chief executives of the 50 states and five territories, joined with eight other national leadership organizations in sending a letter to Congressional leadership calling on Congress to immediately provide emergency funding for K-12 and higher education to deal with issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter calls for “Dedicated funding for public K-12 education to ensure that school districts have the resources they need to address revenue shortfalls and new expenses related to starting the next school year in a manner that prioritizes learning and safety of students and staff.” The letter was noteworthy in signaling the seriousness of the issues since NGA does not typically sign nor send many coalition letters. Other groups joining NSBA and NGA included the American Federation of Teachers, Association of Community College Trustees, Council of Administrators of Special Education. Council of State Governments, National Association of State Boards of Education, National Association of State Directors of Special Education, National Center for Learning Disabilities, and the State Higher Education Executive Officers.

Republican Marker Bill on COVID-19 Relief Expected Next Week
Senate Republicans are widely expected to introduce a marker bill in the coming days, likely in the early part of next week. The forthcoming legislation will provide a window into Congressional Republican priorities with regards to the next COVID-19 relief package. Leaders from both parties and in both chambers are engaging in discussions regarding the size, scope, and shape of the next pandemic aid package. The expected Republican proposal will likely include roughly $1 trillion in further financial pandemic assistance and provide additional funding for K-12 education. The legislation is also expected to include liability protections for employers, postsecondary institutions, and potentially K-12 school districts-a key Republican priority in the upcoming negotiations-to encourage reopening efforts strongly supported by the Trump Administration. Our advocacy team is working to ensure that the emergency funding needs of the K-12 community are reflected in this legislation, especially as discussions on the next pandemic aid package continue.

CDC Expected to Provide Additional Reopening Guidance
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) plans to release supplementary guidance regarding the reopening of K-12 schools later this month. Following a weeks-long public push by the Trump Administration to urge schools to physically reopen this fall, CDC Director Redfield recently committed to providing “additional” guidance for K-12 communities to reopen schools in-person for the upcoming school year. This announcement comes after President Trump made several public statements recently calling into question the feasibility of the existing K-12 reopening guidance provided by the CDC. We will circulate the new guidance documents as soon as they become available.

National Homework Gap Day of Action on July 21, 2020: NSBA is helping lead a national effort on July 21 calling attention to the digital divide in education. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a long-documented and persistent inequity affecting students that lack adequate broadband access. We encourage all school board members to show their support for closing the homework gap and the FCC’s E-Rate program.  More details will be provided on Monday in the Advocate.

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