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Federal update: part 2- Education Secy. DeVos’ guidance on CARES Act funds spurs controversy

Federal update: part 2- Education Secy. DeVos’ guidance on CARES Act funds spurs controversy

While things have been relatively quiet in Madison, things in Washington DC have been busy. Here’s the second in a series of updates on the most noteworthy developments.

USED Non-binding Equitable Guidance to Non-Public Schools Spawns Confusion, Criticism:

The federal CARES Act, passed in late March, provided $13.1 billion in emergency “education stabilization” funding for K-12 schools nationwide. Part of that new law requires that public school districts that receive education stabilization funds under the act must provide equitable services to non-public schools within their boundaries in the same manner as they provide those services under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). (more…)

U.S. Education Dept. posts guidance on CARES Act Education Funds

The U.S. Department of Education has posted guidance for state education agencies and school districts, titled “Frequently Asked Questions about the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund).” (The ESSER fund is the principal source of funding for K-12 education under the federal CARES Act.)

According to the Department, this “document seeks to answer questions that are not easily understood from a plain reading of Section 18003 and other parts of the CARES Act or the ESSER Fund Certification and Agreement (C&A). It was developed in direct response to questions that the Department has received from SEA and LEA grant administrators implementing the ESSER Fund program.”

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New calendar year 2020 signals time for U.S. Census to begin

The start of a new decade means it is once again time for the U.S. Census. This once-every-ten-year national population count is important to schools and communities because the results will be used to allocate future state and federal funding (see previous post) and to redraw new election districts for local, state and national races and new wards for cities, villages and towns.

The goal of the Census Bureau’s 2020 Census is to make sure every person in the U.S. and Wisconsin is counted.

Preparations for the 2020 count are beginning to ramp up. The Census Bureau is currently hiring thousands of people to help it conduct the census.  The State of Wisconsin has an official WICount 2020 Census website designed to inform state residents about the Census and how it operates.

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Will divided state government come together to address school violence?

After a spate of recent school violence incidents in Wisconsin high schools, state officials are offering reactions and calling for action. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Gov. Tony Evers is calling for increased state funding for mental health services at schools. Gov. Evers told The Associated Press he is committed to working with legislative Republicans to secure additional mental health funding and is optimistic because of past GOP support for such funding.

Also, from the Oshkosh Northwestern: “In the next state budget, Evers hopes to include more money for school resource officers that districts can put toward training and other uses. He said he’ll continue to advocate for mental health programs in schools, and that the state needs to help because districts can’t come up with the money on their own. (more…)

Step-by-step school safety action plan from the Secret Service

In light of yet another school shooting, the WASB wants to highlight eight actionable steps for implementing a comprehensive targeted violence prevention plan in schools. This information is pulled from the Secret Service Analysis of Targeted School Violence which we had shared in a previous post.

Step 1: Establish a multidisciplinary threat assessment team of school personnel including faculty, staff, administrators, coaches, and available school resource officers who will direct, manage, and document the threat assessment process. (more…)