USDE Provides Letter with Details on ARP Spending Extension Requests (September 23, 2023)

As states and school districts prepare to make final decisions on spending the last and largest allocation of COVID-19 relief money, on September 18, 2022 the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) sent a letter to state education agencies (SEAs) with details on American Rescue Plan (ARP) spending extension requests.

According to the letter, SEAs can now request a 14-month extension to spend ARP money just as they were allowed to do under the first two allocations of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund.

If approved, states and school districts would have the flexibility of spending ARP funds 14 months beyond the Jan. 28, 2025, which would be late March 2026.

The letter also states that an FAQ and extension request template will be available this fall.

To view the letter, click here.

HHS Issues New Proposed Rule to Strengthen Prohibitions Against Discrimination on the Basis of a Disability in Health Care and Human Services Programs (September 21, 2023)

50 years after its being enacted, significant updates are being made to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to advance equity and bolster protections for people with disabilities.

In fact, on September 7, 2023 the Biden-Harris Administration took further action on its commitment to promote access to health care and human services for persons with disabilities as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Office for Civil Rights (OCR), announced a proposed rule that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.  The rule, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance, updates critical provisions that help persons with disabilities access health and human services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  The rule, originally published in 1977, advances the promise of the Rehabilitation Act and helps to ensure that people with disabilities are not subjected to discrimination in any program or activity receiving funding from HHS just because they have a disability. 

Section 504 prohibits discrimination against otherwise qualified individuals on the basis of disability in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance or are conducted by a Federal agency. Since the law was enacted, major legislative and judicial developments have shifted the legal landscape of disability discrimination under Section 504.

HHS is proposing to amend the regulations to update them and clarify obligations in several crucial areas not explicitly addressed in the current regulations, and to improve consistency with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act, amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, and significant case law.

This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) clarifies the application of Section 504 to several critical areas. The proposed rule:
-Ensures that medical treatment decisions are not based on biases or stereotypes about individuals with disabilities, judgments that an individual will be a burden on others, or beliefs that the life of an individual with a disability has less value than the life of a person without a disability;
-Clarifies obligations for web, mobile, and kiosk accessibility;
-Establishes enforceable standards for accessible medical equipment;
-Clarifies requirements in HHS-funded child welfare programs and activities;
-Prohibits the use of value assessment methods that place a lower value on life-extension for individuals with disabilities when that method is used to limit access or to deny aids, benefits, and services.
-Clarifies obligations to provide services in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of individuals with disabilities.

While the HHS is undertaking this rulemaking the current regulation is in effect. If you believe that you or another party has been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability, visit the OCR complaint portal to file a complaint online at:

HHS encourages all stakeholders to submit comments through

Public comments on the NPRM are due 60 days after publication of the NPRM in the Federal Register. The NPRM may be viewed or downloaded at the Federal Register:

A fact sheet on the NPRM is available at:

The Fact Sheet is available in the following languages:
Español (Spanish)
繁體中文 (Chinese – Traditional)
简体中文 (Chinese – Simplified)
Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
한국어 (Korean)
Tagalog (Filipino)
Русский (Russian)
Portuguese (Brazilian)
Français (French)
Kreyòl Ayisyen (Haitian Creole)
Polski (Polish)
日本語 (Japaneses)

For more information visit:

Proposed USDE Section 504 Revisions Delayed (September 21, 2023)

With regard to a much-anticipated development across the nation, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) continues to delay its release of revised Section 504 regulations. It has been hoped that such revisions will clarify how student accommodations under Section 504 align or depart from the rights of students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

This would be first major Section 504 update since 1977.

The USDE has not publicly announced a new release timeline and the delay is expected to continue for several months, since the Office of Management and Budget dashboard shows the proposed rule is not yet under review.

Source: K-12 Dive

BEF Hearings Underway (September 20, 2023)

The Basic Education Funding Commission launched a series of hearings this week to gather testimony to help improve the state’s basic education funding (BEF) system. The commission is comprised of three members of each party from both the House and Senate, as well as three members of the Shapiro administration.
Earlier this year, the funding system was declared unconstitutional by Commonwealth Court, and lawmakers were directed to develop a remedy with attention to adequacy, equity, and timeliness.
Hearings held in Allentown, Harrisburg and Philadelphia provided feedback from public school finance experts, education advocates and others. Additional hearings are planned over the next several weeks, concluding with one in Bedford in November.
For more information, or to submit comments to the commission or watch the hearings, visit