In the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and other mass shootings in the United States, Congress has passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act–intended to reduce gun violence and also includes new investments for K-12 schools.
The bill includes promoting state “red flag” laws, expanded protections for victims of domestic violence, more substantial requirements for licensed gun dealers, stricter penalties for straw purchases, and more scrutiny of purchasers under 21. There are a number of funding increases for K-12 education programs such as:
- $1 billion to increase the number of school-based mental health staff
- $1 billion to improve school climate via ESSA Title IV (academic enrichment state grants)
- $50 million for 21st Century Community Learning Centers
- $300 million for school safety and violence prevention measures.
The bill also prohibits ESSA funds from being used to train or arm school staff. The Senate voted 65-33, and the House voted 234-193. President Biden is expected to sign the legislation into law within several days.
School Meal Reimbursements
During the COVID pandemic, the waiver that provided free meals to all students was set to expire on June 30th. However, before the strike of midnight, Congress passed the Keep Kids Fed Act, which extends the waiver through the 2022 summer program. As a result, waivers for the school meal program instituted during the Covid pandemic that provided free meals to all students expire on June 30th.
House Seeks FY23 Education Funding Increases
Last week the House Appropriations Subcommittee unveiled its FY23 education funding bill, which includes significant increases for K-12 programs:
- Title I +$3 billion (17%) $20.5 billion total
- IDEA state grants +$2.9 billion (22%) $16.3 billion total
- Title II (professional development) +$100 million (5%) $2.3 billion total
- Title IV (well-rounded education) +$75 million (6%) $1.4 billion total
- Community Schools +$393 million (524%) $468 million total
- English Language acquisition +$169 million (20%) $1 billion total
The House Appropriations Committee will consider the bill next week.