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Report: Unfunded special education costs burden Wisconsin school districts, divert funds from general education for all students

A new report from the Education Law Center finds Wisconsin school districts collectively faced a bill of $1.25 billion in unfunded special education costs in the 2019-2020 school year, even after accounting for state special education reimbursement and federal IDEA funds.

The report calls on the State to significantly boost the reimbursement rate for special education to enable districts to retain revenue in the general fund and increase spending on essential programs and services for all students.

Statewide, unfunded special education costs borne by Wisconsin school districts have grown from $1.03 billion in the 2015-16 school year, a figure reported by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. (more…)

September 12 is deadline to submit comments on proposed changes to federal Title IX regulations

The U.S. Department of Education’s Proposed Rule to modify/amend the federal Title IX regulations is currently subject to a public comment opportunity for school districts and other interested parties to submit feedback to influence the final version of the regulations. The deadline for submitting comments on the Proposed Rule is September 12, 2022.

The WASB has prepared a general summary of the amendments found in the Proposed Rule, with brief commentary, that is intended to help Title IX Coordinators and other school district leaders understand the scope of the Proposed Rule and determine whether their school district wishes to submit any comments for purposes of their local advocacy. The WASB has attempted to identify the proposals that are likely to be of greatest interest to most school districts, however, the overview highlights only some of changes that are included in the Proposed Rule. (more…)

Study looks at ways federal government shortchanges K-12 public education

From EdWeek: “The federal government contributes roughly 8 percent of the $795 billion that annually goes toward educating the nation’s 50 million children. In many cases, however, the federal share falls short of its self-imposed targets, shortchanging schools on everything from high-need students and special education to facilities and school meals.

“This shortfall will persist without more vigorous and reliable federal intervention, argue the authors of a new report on funding sources for K-12 schools.

“Instead of asking school districts to rely on volatile state and local revenue, they say, the federal government needs to dramatically step up its investment in K-12 education and proactively establish funding programs that help schools during economic downturns.” (more…)

Federal “Keep Kids Fed Act” signed into law

On June 25, President Biden signed the bipartisan Keep Kids Fed Act into law, thereby extending several pandemic-era school nutrition waivers. Those waivers, first issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as the pandemic disrupted school operations in 2020, had been set to expire on June 30.

Those 2020 waivers provided school food programs with more flexible nutrition requirements that helped them combat supply shortages, offer options such as “grab-and-go” meals, and provided school meal programs with higher than normal reimbursement rates for meals. The waivers also allowed school food authorities to provide free school meals to all students regardless of family income for the first time in U.S. history. (more…)

New bipartisan school and gun safety law also includes additional resources for schools, children and families

The new bipartisan school and gun safety law signed by President Biden on Saturday (see previous post) also includes a host of programs providing additional federal resources for schools, children and families. These programs are summarized below.

The new law builds on a couple of school security measures that were adopted in the wake of the 2018  Parkland, Florida school shooting, including:

(more…)

President signs bipartisan school and gun safety package

From ABC News: “President Joe Biden on Saturday signed into law the gun safety package passed by Congress this week.

“The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act broke a nearly 30-year stalemate on Capitol Hill, becoming the first major piece of federal gun reform to clear both chambers since the Brady bill.

“A bipartisan group of senators began crafting the legislation in the aftermath of a tragic mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 young children and two teachers dead. (more…)