Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Adult Ed and the Fed Shutdown: Impact?

What does the Federal Shutdown mean for Adult Education?

Good question!  And not one that I can answer.

The following information from Edsource and ASCD might help us both figure it out.

As you read through it, remember:  The CDE is involved in planning for the new Regional Consortia and the CDE is funded in large part by the Federal government.  It is, however, "forward-funded."  That means it's paid in advance.

Hit the "read more" link to read the articles.


What would federal shutdown mean for California education? - Edsource

Federal money for education will continue to flow into California, with some caveats, even with a government shutdown.

The big-ticket federal education programs in California – $1.8 billion a year for low-performing schools and $1.4 billion a year for special education – will be unscathed, according to a memorandum from the U.S. Department of Education. Those programs, along with grants for Career and Technical Education, would be deemed “a necessary exception” to a spending halt and would receive their scheduled Oct. 1 funding distribution, the federal department said.

Less clear is the potential impact on the California Department of Education itself, which is scheduled to receive $166 million in federal funds for operations in 2013-14, primarily for salaries, said Edgar Cabral, a fiscal and policy analyst with the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office. The federal money, which makes up 77 percent of the department’s $214 million operating budget, is distributed in July and October, said Cabral, which means the state department already received a significant chunk of the salary funding. With a federal shutdown, the October funding for payroll could be temporarily stalled, depending on the distribution date.

“There wouldn’t necessarily be a problem at least in the short term, but if (the shutdown) goes on for a longer period of time, it could be a problem,” Cabral said.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said that the impact on California education would likely be limited because many federally funded programs have already received this year’s appropriation. But he added, “However, some funding, including support for the Child Development Block Grant, which provides child care services for poor families, and Impact Aid Grants, which benefit the children of military families, could both be affected within days. Sadly, the first people affected by a shutdown will likely be some of the people who can least afford it – young children, students, and low-income families.”

The key to surviving a federal government spending halt is to be a program that is “forward funded,” meaning that the program generally receives its money in advance. The two largest federal expenditures in California education – Title I grants for academic support for low-performing schools and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act grants for special education – are forward funded, which is why they will remain unscathed.

They are also considered essential. ”The department believes that any delay in obligating these funds could, in some cases, significantly damage state and local program operations,” the federal memo said.

The California Department of Education payroll is also funded in advance, but didn’t make the list of exceptions to be funded in case of a shutdown.

Among the programs at risk from a lengthy shutdown are Head Start for preschool children, the National School Lunch Program and smaller federal programs such as Impact Aid given to districts that serve children of military families. For Head Start programs, a shutdown means that no new Head Start grants would be awarded. Because Head Start grants are given in various funding cycles, programs expecting to receive a grant in October would be out of luck during the shutdown, but no Head Start programs in California receive grant renewals in October, said Rick Mockler, executive director of the California Head Start Association.

The National School Lunch Program, which funds meals at schools including breakfast, lunch, after-school snacks and in some cases dinner, reimburses school districts after a month’s worth of meals are served. “There are sufficient balances to cover the month of October,” Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said. “It’s uncertain after that.”

Unknown is the potential impact on the many smaller federal programs that support education in the state.

“A lot of these programs are supplemented by state and local funds,” said Melissa Loeb, senior policy analyst at the nonprofit Federal Funds Information for States. “They could still continue, but no new federal funds would be available. The longer that goes on, the more resources they would be using.”



SEPTEMBER 30, 2013

Answers to Your Top Six Shutdown Questions

The federal government is less than 12 hours away from a shutdown because Congress has been unable to pass a bill to fund federal programs as the new fiscal year begins. This week’s Capitol Connection cuts through the politics and brinkmanship to outline what a shutdown would mean for the nation’s students, educators, and schools.
1. What’s the bottom line for schools and districts? How would a government shutdown affect daily operations?
Most schools and districts are unlikely to feel immediate effects of a shutdown because the advanced funding nature of federal education spending means that states and districts have already received much of their federal funding for the school year. In addition, the vast majority of school funding (about 90 percent) comes from state and local sources. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Education has awarded dozens of competitive grants in the past several days so that it is not held up by a shutdown.
2. Will any education programs be affected in the short-term?
Head Start (which provides early childhood education to low-income families) and Impact Aid (which helps fund school districts that cannot fully rely on local tax revenue, such as those on military bases or tribal lands) depend heavily on federal dollars that are not necessarily distributed at the beginning of the school year. Thus, these programs could experience more acute and immediate shutdown consequences. This is especially concerning because Head Start and Impact Aid have already deeply felt the effects of sequestration. More than 50,000 children have lost access to Head Start and many Impact Aid districts have been forced to eliminate positions and programming because of sequestration.
3. But I’ve heard about furloughs at the U.S. Department of Education. What effect could those have on local schools and districts?
Ninety percent of the department’s more than 4,000 employees will be furloughed during a government shutdown, leaving just a skeleton crew to address schools’ and districts’ questions and concerns. Grant processing will lapse, and questions will probably go unresolved for the duration of the shutdown. In addition, contract approvals will likely be delayed. See the department’s shutdown plan, which outlines its strategies for minimizing the effect of a shutdown.
4. How will the shutdown affect the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization?
With few congressional staff at work during the shutdown, no progress on ESEA reauthorization will be made. Moreover, all discussions and negotiations among members of Congress will focus on fiscal issues instead of education. Meanwhile, the minimal staff at the Department of Education will delay decisions on pending ESEA waivers.
5. How will the shutdown end?
The shutdown will end once Congress passes a bill funding the government and the president signs it. The bill could extend funding for as long as a year or it could provide funding for a much shorter amount of time. If Congress passes a short-term solution, it will create a similar situation to the one we are currently in and will require passage of additional deadline-driven solutions to keep the government running.
6. What does it mean for schools when the government reopens?
Department of Education staff will face a backlog of work once the shutdown ends, so schools should expect delays in responses to their questions or requests for information. Any short-term spending bill approved by Congress is likely to fund education programs at current FY13 levels, which already reflect a 5 percent cut because of sequestration. Schools and districts should prepare for another round of across-the-board sequestration cuts, which are slated to take effect in January if Congress doesn’t intervene. A mid-October congressional showdown over the federal debt ceiling only adds to the uncertainty.
Capitol Connection will continue to follow all the action and provide you with the most relevant information.

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