Here’s the Latest on Education Issues from the Capitol
We were pleased to spend last weekend Plugging-in and Powering up with AEA members from across Arkansas at our 2017 Legislative Conference. Thanks to everyone who participated and made it a huge successs.
PLUG-IN & POWER UP
AEA 2017 Legislative Conference
AEA members are invited to attend our upcoming Legislative Conference on January 14, 2017. 9:30-3pm
The conference will be held at the AEA building in Little Rock, 1500 W. 4th St.
(Little Rock, AR, November 17, 2016) We elect school board members to make sound decisions about students and schools.
You Raised Your Voice and You Were Heard!
Education Committee Recommends Increase in Teacher Pay, Increase in Special Education Funding and More
Last week, we alerted you to education funding proposals that were being considered at the Capitol. Many of you contacted lawmakers to express your concerns about teachers salaries and overall adequate resourcing of Arkansas public schools.
What is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)?
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) calls for state-designed accountability systems that will end the era of NCLB’s (No Child Left Behind) one-size-fits-all approach. It expands the measures of accountability states are required to use and finally brings to an end the reliance on state math and reading scores as the only indicator of success.
What concepts remain in federal law?
This week legislators wrapped up the second extraordinary session of 2016. The three day session focused on highway funding. After two days of debate, the legislature approved the Governor's plan, HB1009, which seeks to put approximately $50 million toward state highway needs each year for the next five years. This money allows Arkansas to meet the federal match dollar amount required for the state to receive an additional $1 billion over the same five year period.
This week, the General Assembly finished its work to finalize Arkansas's $5.3 billion budget for the next fiscal year which begins July 1, 2016.
The legislature's work focused on finalizing the Revenue Stabilization Act which is the budgeting mechanism by which the state achieves a balanced budget.
The approved state budget includes a $23 million increase in funding to public schools across the state. This represents only a 1% increase in funding to public schools which, in recent years, received a 2% increase.
The third week of the 2016 fiscal session was a bumpy ride for education in Arkansas. The Joint Budget Committee approved an amendment that would call on the Arkansas Department of Education to spend $800k to fund the newly created 'Succeed Scholarship' program. This program is Arkansas's first voucher program and was created by Act 1178 of 2015 which the Arkansas Education Association opposed when the bill was presented in the House Education Committee last year. The program allows any student on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to become eligible to receive a voucher.