Now that the House and Senate have passed their respective reauthorization bills, the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) and the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), staff has begun informal discussions to negotiate the final bill. We have provided all four key professional staffers on the House and Education Workforce Committee and the Senate HELP Committee National Council for Impacted Schools (NCIS’) positions on their respective bills as they begin to hammer our differences in the Impact Aid title. I have attached those position papers for your convenience.
NCIS likes the House bill more that the Senate, due to a number of B (2) heavily impacted provisions which provide eligibility to districts that no longer qualify, taking scarce resources from ALL eligible districts in an already underfunded program. We are also concerned about any hold harmless provisions which “fences” funding for those districts that will soon fall out of B (2) eligibility.
Both bills provide for equal distribution above 100% LOT, which is a major victory. We now are in discussions to ensure our reproduction of records provision is included in the final bill, and seek to include yearly open competition in the Sec. 8007 construction program, and eliminating the mandate of a student count of a district that receives 100 additional students, which will slow payments for all eligible districts. We also question several other provisions, which are noted in the attachment.
The question then arises, can the final bill be considered, passed, and signed by the President? The fall legislative schedule is crowded, due to the inaction to pass any of the annual appropriations bill before the start of the fiscal year on October 1st. We anticipate the passage of a continuing resolution, which will fund the government through the end of the year. This, coupled with trying to obtain a budget agreement which delays or eliminates the sequestration trigger, identifying full highway bill funding by October 1, the need to raise the debt limit once again by the end of the calendar year, could indeed “crowd” out this bill from being considered. The final ESEA bill could also be attached to an omnibus appropriations measure that will be a must pass bill.
The Administration likes the Senate bill more than the House version, which the Administration has threatened to veto. They have not taken an official stance on the Senate bill.
It will be a whirlwind legislative congressional session this fall. The ESEA reauthorization process is close to finally being enacted after many years, unless the political environment necessitates a stalemate. We look forward to working to ensure the final agreed upon Impact Aid title is consistent with NCIS principles.