NREA Weekly Updates: April 16th, 2021

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Legislative Update from NREAC
President Biden’s Budget Request:
Last week, President Biden released his discretionary request for Fiscal Year 22, which would be available to districts during the school year 2022-2023. Overall, the request proposes record investment in the federal education programs and represents a $29.8 billion increase over the regular FY 2021 level. Specifics on the budget are listed below.
ED Funding Formula Programs

$36.5 billion for Title I – This is a $20 billion (41%) increase over the 2021 level and more than doubles funding for the largest K-12 education program.
$15.5 billion for IDEA Part B state grants – The budget increases IDEA state grant funding by $2.6 billion (20%), which leaves the program far below the “ 40% full-funding” level of about $39 billion. Still, this would be a large down payment toward the full-funding goal. The budget also increases the Infant and Toddler Part C program by $250 million (52%).

Other ED increases not quite specific enough to be quantifiable to particular programs –
$1 billion for mental health services – The document doesn’t say whether this is an increase for the Title IV-A program but notes that it is providing $1 billion to increase the number of school counselors, nurses, and mental health professionals.
Increase of $100 million (about 50%) for programs aiming to increase participation in science and engineering of individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.
$443 million for Full-Service Community Schools – The budget provides a $413 million (1377% - yes, that is correct!) increase for this $30 million program that provides wraparound services to students and their families.
$100 million for a new diverse schools program – The budget funds a new grant program to help communities create schools with more diverse student bodies rather than ones that often are de facto segregated by race and family income.

Increases outside of ED –
$7.4 billion for CCDBG – Within the HHS, this child care funding is a $1.5 billion (25%) increase in child care funding from the regular FY 2021 level (the American Rescue Plan also included additional CCDBG funding for FY 2021).
$11.9 billion for Head Start – This level is a $1.2 billion (11%) increase over the FY 2021 level at HHS.
$450 million for Preschool Development Grants – This is a $175 million (64%) increase for a program that was frozen at $275 million in FY 2021, also in HHS.
$3.7 billion for WIOA state grants – At the Department of Labor, the budget increases funds for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) state grants by $203 million (6%).
$285 million for apprenticeship programs – The budget provides a $100 million increase to expand registered apprenticeship opportunities within Labor.

Biden Infrastructure Proposal: 
Last week, President Biden released the details of his American Jobs Plan. Overall, the proposal calls for an investment of an estimated $2 trillion over the next decade for improving and constructing roads and bridges, schools and child care facilities, affordable housing, and other elements of more traditional infrastructure. 
Specifically, the education-related components of the proposal include: 
  • $100 billion for school modernization and construction
  • $25 billion to upgrade child care facilities and increase access
  • $100 billion to support workforce development programs
  •  $100 billion to expand and improve broadband access
  •  $111 billion to replace all lead pipes across the country. 
The Education Week coverage of the proposal is available here. A White House fact sheet on the American Jobs Plan is accessible here. Additionally, AASA has an analysis of the infrastructure proposal here.
While NREAC is appreciative of any federal investment for public school facilities, it is important to note that the President’s proposed investment around school construction and modernization efforts represents a significant dip in funding from other proposals that have moved forth on Capitol Hill. For comparison, the Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Bobby Scott, has championed the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act (RRASA). This proposal would allocate $100 billion in grants and 30 billion in capital outlay bonds. Therefore, this portion of the American Jobs Plan represents a $50B reduction in total grant funding compared to other House Democrat proposals on school infrastructure.
Speaker Pelosi has announced her intention to pass this bill before the July 4th recess, but many are skeptical given the lack of detail in this proposal about how realistic that timeline actually is. NREAC will certainly make a hard push to ensure school infrastructure is included in any Congressional package and funded in an appropriate, equity-centered way. Please stay tuned to see how you can advocate and for the maximum funding needed to address the longstanding crumbling and decrepit condition of some of our nation’s school buildings and grounds.
Finally, the Biden administration is still expected to release an American Families Plan in the coming weeks. From our intel, this proposal will focus on “human infrastructure” investments, which may include initiatives for tuition-free community college, universal pre-kindergarten, an expansion of the child tax credit, and other education-related investments.

Letter to Dept. of ED: Recommendations to Improve Rural Education Outreach:
This month, NREAC and 16 other allied organizations sent a letter to Secretary Miguel Cardona this last month requesting that the Department of Education expand its efforts to increase engagement with rural education stakeholders, promote staff understanding of the challenges facing rural local education agencies, and improve the intra-agency rural education-related policymaking efforts of and between the Department’s senior leadership, White House Domestic Policy Council, and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Check out the full details on the Leading Edge Blog

K12 School Facilities Belong In National Infrastructure Stimulus:
On March 29th, NREAC and more than 130 allied education, health, environmental, labor, and industry organizations sent a letter to House Leadership urging the inclusion of the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act (RRASA) as passed last Congress in any upcoming infrastructure package enacted into law. The [Re]Build America’s School Infrastructure Coalition (BASIC) made it clear that while the American Rescue Plan and COVID-19 Relief funds will enable districts to operate their 20th-century schools more safely, the funding will not enable high-need LEAs and schools to modernize critical infrastructure for the 21st century. Thus, further exacerbating long-standing inequities.
By allocating $100 billion in direct grants and $30 billion in bond interest subsidies, Congress can address obsolete and deteriorated conditions in high-need rural, town, suburban, and urban public school facilities. AASA was proud to join the BASIC in this effort to advocate for a comprehensive local, state, and federal partnership to modernize our nation’s public school facilities infrastructure. Click here to read the letter.
NREA joins Summer Learning & Enrichment Collaborative
NREA joins Summer Learning & Enrichment Collaborative
With the passage of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), States and school districts have the resources to support evidence-based summer learning and enrichment programs that address the urgent needs of students, including those students disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic—which exacerbated the pre-existing inequities in our education system.
During the National Safe School Reopening Summit, President Biden issued a call to action for us to work together to meet this challenge. The U.S. Department of Education (Department) is committed to supporting the efforts of States and districts, and I am writing to invite your State to join the Summer Learning & Enrichment Collaborative (Collaborative) to bring education leaders together to learn from experts and each other as you develop your summer learning and enrichment plans.

Led by the Department’s National Comprehensive Center, the Collaborative is a partnership between the Department, the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, AASA: The School Superintendents Association, the Council of the Great City Schools, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the National Rural Education Association, and Boys and Girls Clubs of America to support strong summer learning and enrichment opportunities. Full letter by clicking read more.
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Updates and Events:
College Board Virtual Events for High School Students
College Board Virtual Events for High School Students
College Board is hosting a series of free virtual college fairs - called BigFuture Days. There are just two more chances to attend! During BigFuture Days, high school students can connect directly with college admissions representatives, hear from current college students, chat one-on-one with a college adviser, attend college planning sessions, and more. You can attend any event and more than one. Explore your college options in each region! Register by clicking read more.
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Is Your Town Ready for the Selfie of a Lifetime? T‑Mobile Unveils Hometown Techover Contest
Is Your Town Ready for the Selfie of a Lifetime? T‑Mobile Unveils Hometown Techover Contest
What’s the news: T-Mobile is offering one lucky town the makeover of their dreams with a tech upgrade valued at $3 million.
Why it matters: This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for one small town to get a multi-million-dollar Techover and take center stage as the belle of the 5G ball.
Who it’s for: Anybody who loves their hometown wants to brag about it and wants to make every other town jealous! If your hometown has a population of 50,000 or less, get to entering at
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State Affiliate Updates:

HB46 Revise special education funding, sponsor Rep. Bedey will be heard this morning at 9:00AM in Senate Finance and Claims. This bill passed 2 nd reading yesterday in the Senate. MREA supports HB246.

MREA supports all of the following bills

Second Reading in the Senate Today
HB630 Appropriate CARES II funds, supplemental, and temporarily revise ed funding, sponsor Rep. Bedey.
HB632 Implement receipt of and appropriate federal stimulus and COVID recovery funds, sponsor Rep. Garner.
HB663 Generally revising school funding to increase GTB and lower property taxes, sponsor Rep. Ler.

Third Reading in the Senate Today
HB206 Revise education laws related to tuition and in-state treatment, sponsor Rep. Bedey 1:00PM Third Reading Senate

This week TREA promoted Texas Public School Students Are More Than a Test!
This week TREA promoted Texas Public School Students Are More Than a Test!
Texas public school students are more than a test! Artists, athletes, entrepreneurs, musicians, student government leaders...keep the list going in the comments!
Share some of the ways your #students are #MoreThanATest for #TxEdTuesday!
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Colorado: Redefining Rural
Colorado: Redefining Rural
A Spotlight on Rural Innovators: Gregg Cannady” is out now on all platforms! Listen to Michelle Murphy interview Gregg Cannady, an energetic and passionate teacher doing AMAZING things with outreach to rural students and communities while working at the STEM School in Highlands Ranch. To listen to the entire episode, be sure to click read more.
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Mark your calendars. Here are a few upcoming dates for 2021 that you won't want to miss!
ASA Annual Conference - June 13–15, 2021
ASBA Annual Conference - July 21–24, 2021 - ASBA Law Conference - September 8–10, 2021 - ARSA Annual Conference - September 16–18, 2021
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Sharing Information From Our Partners and Sponsors:
NREA State Affiliates
NREA Virtual Conference Info
NREA Sponsors & Partners
The Rural Educator
Rural Ed. Instructional Support
NREA Foundation & Research Awards Announcements


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