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.
Week one of the 2016 fiscal legislative session is in the books and what a week it was! The General Assembly began meeting on Wednesday to consider budget bills. All budget bills must gain a supermajority (3/4) vote to win passage in both the House and Senate before they are sent to the Governor for his signature. All eyes were on Senate Bill 121 which is the appropriation for the Department of Human Services (DHS) which includes Arkansas Works. Arkansas Works is the program approved by lawmakers in a special legislative session last week.
Special Session Wraps Up, Possible Cuts to Education Budget on Tap for Fiscal Session
Students win: Governor Hutchinson hears educators, asks state legislature to consider additional funding for National Board Certified Teacher Program
Today, the the legislative Joint Budget Committee held hearings regarding the Public School Fund. The Arkansas Education Association was on hand to advocate for public schools and public school educators.
AEA is hosting Picture This: A Selfie Contest featuring educators with their favorite children’s book from March 1-March 31. This contest is part of the Arkansas Education Association's Read Across America events.