Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Federal Legislative Report 115-12


Both the House and Senate have been adjourned for the past few weeks for the election. They will reconvene on November 13.

Prior to the election, it was predicted that the Republicans would maintain control in the Senate and the House could potentially switch from Republican to Democrat control. After voting yesterday, the Republicans did maintain control of the Senate. Prior to the election there were 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats, and two Independents. Now there are 51 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two Independents (a few races are still undecided).

In the House, the Democrats are now in control as they were able to flip 27 seats. Prior to the election there were 238 Republicans, 193 Democrats, and four vacancies. There are now 220 Democrats and 193 Republicans.

Since 1934, the party of a newly elected president has suffered an average loss of 23 seats in the House in the following midterm. With a split government, and two years until the nation will vote again for the presidency, it is unlikely much policy work will be accomplished.


For the first time since the 1990s, a budget was signed into law before the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1. The president signed H.R. 6157 on September 28. The bill includes a combined $299 million increase for K-12 education. Overall, this budget provides $71.5 billion for the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) - a $1 billion increase compared to FY18.

Education Funding Priorities
Current FY18 Funding
President’s FY19 Proposal
Approved FY19
Title I
$16.444 billion
$15.927 billion
$16.544 billion
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
$12.278 billion
$12.003 billion
$12.364 billion
ESSA -Title II
$2.056 billion
$2.056 billion
ESSA -Title IV
$1.1 billion
$1.17 billion
Perkins Career and Technical (CTE)
$1.193 billion
$1.118 billion
$1.263 billion
ESSA - Title III
$737 million
$737 million
$737 million

The House-Senate conference committee agreement for this bill also includes two non-funding provisions regarding school safety and infrastructure.
  • Within existing School Safety National Activities funding provided in the bill, the agreement specifies that not more than $10 million may be used for a demonstration program to test and evaluate innovative partnerships between higher education institutions and states – or high need school districts – to train school counselors, social workers, psychologists, or other mental health professionals qualified to provide school-based mental health services. The goal is to expand the pipeline of these workers into low-income public elementary schools and secondary schools in order to address the shortages of mental health service professionals in such schools.
  • Direction to the Comptroller General to conduct a study on the condition of the public-school facilities (including charter schools) of the United States and their adequacy to support a 21st century education.


On October 4, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) released an ESSA Flexibilities Guide to aid in implementation. It is intended to highlight the key flexibilities afforded to states and districts in ESSA, including fiscal and programmatic options across the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).


The USDOE released guidance on the McKinney-Vento Act under ESSA. ESSA made changes to the Title I reservation requirements for homeless students. On July 30, the USDOE responded to questions about these changes, including the following:
  • Does ESSA require a Local Education Agency (LEA) to reserve Title I funds under section 1113(c)(3) if all schools in the LEA are Title I schools?
  • Does ESEA require an LEA to reserve a specific amount of Title I funds to serve homeless students under section 1113(c)(3)?
The new guidance is posted here.

Additional resources on federal supports for homeless children and youth are available on the USDOE Office of Safe and Healthy Students webpage.


The president signed the newest version into law on July 31. More information about the law can be found in Federal Legislative Report 115-11.