Government

Federal

K-12 Cuts and School Choice Proposals Nixed by Legislators (9/8/17)

On September 7, legislators in both the House and Senate have shot down Trump administration plans to use federal funds for vouchers or public school choice. Legislation passed by both the House and Senate also bars the administration from making serious cuts to spending at the US Department of Education. In fact, legislation that received bi-partisan support for the full Senate Appropriations committee requires the secretary of ed. to receive congressional approval in order to create a school choice initiative using federal funds. Current plans provide approximately $1 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers and $68.3 billion for the USDE, which includes an increase of $29 million and is contrary to administration wishes.

The administration was looking to increase Title I by $1 billion to fund a new program that would use federal funding for school choice. It also wanted to provide an additional $250 million to the Education Innovation and Research program aimed at facilitating private school choice. Current spending proposals provide level funding for special education state grants and eliminate a proposed $165 million Trump administration cut to career and technical education funding.

State

Harrisburg Releases updated Immunization Info (9/8/17)

As you are likely aware, on August 1, 2017, new requirements for school immunizations went into effect for the 2017-18 school year. These new regulations shorten the provisional enrollment period for students who are not fully immunized from eight months to five days, and update some vaccination requirements for school-age children. The regulations apply for all students in Pennsylvania’s K-12 schools, including public and private schools. Additional information regarding these new regulations is available on the PA Department of Health’s webpage: http://www.health.pa.gov/My%20Health/Immunizations/School/Pages/default.aspx.

The Department has recently updated its basic education circular (BEC) regarding School Immunizations to reflect requirements under Pennsylvania’s new health regulations.  This revised BEC aims to address many of the questions that PDE has received from local educational agencies (LEAs) regarding implementation of these new requirements. The attached BEC is also available on PDE’s website: http://www.education.pa.gov/Pages/Codes%20and%20Regulations/Basic-Education-Circulars.aspx#tab-1.

Additional questions regarding the guidance and recommendations contained within the BEC should be directed to Jeanette Medina, School Services Office, at 717-214-9755 or RA-PDE-SchoolService@pa.gov.  Questions related to the new school immunization requirements and available resources should be directed to the PA Department of Health’s Division of Immunizations at 717-787-5681.

2017-18 PA Budget Issues Remain Unresolved (9/1/17)

As of the date this newsletter was published, Pennsylvania’s $2.2 billion budget gap had not yet been filled and Governor Tom Wolf was indicating the commonwealth could be heading for major spending freezes. By September 15, the governor said he either has to put spending for certain state programs on hold, or borrow more money from the Treasury. He also stated that he does not want to borrow without a balanced budget. The House is not scheduled to return until September 11, and it was unclear if they would have a compromise in place by then. The Treasury projected that the general fund would hit zero by the end of August. A spokesman said September 15 is the day a significant Medicaid provider payment is due, which would put the fund $1.6 billion underwater. However, payments cannot be made unless some additional revenue is found. House Republican leaders say their caucus still disagrees regarding the tax increases in the Senate proposal.

Additional information can be found in the links above.

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