Congressional Action on American Rescue Plan – Dollars for schools and employees
The US Senate on Saturday passed its version of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, formally known as HR1319. It now heads back to the House where it will need a final vote on Senate amendments before heading to the president for signature.
This bill differs from the version passed by the House in that it contains slightly less funding than the original version, but still clocks in at slightly more than an $126 billion additional dollars for schools, of which 20 percent is reserved for increasing learning opportunities for students.
The bill also includes $7.1 billion that would go to the FCC toward eliminating what NSBA and its coalition partners have termed the “homework gap,” which is money to improve broadband internet access to rural and underserved communities. This funding would flow through the federal e-rate program but the match would be reduced to zero in certain circumstances.
Unrelated to school operations but important to district employees, the act contains a direct $1,400 payment to Americans with a single income of less than $80,000, or married couples with an income of less than $160,000. This range should cover a large amount of non-administrative school employees.
The plan also includes an increase in the child tax credit to $3,600 per child for children under 6, and $3,000 per child for children age 6 to 17 for taxpayers making up to $75,000 single/$150,000 married. The benefit phases down after that, but those with incomes under $95,000 single or $170,000 married would still see some benefit. The plan also makes the credit fully refundable, meaning a taxpayer could still receive the full credit in a refund even if their tax liability did not meet the threshold. It also provides $250 monthly advance payments per child through the end of 2021. Those with incomes up to $200,000 would remain eligible for the standard $2,000 per child credit.
Most of the media coverage about the bill has focused on the $15/hour minimum wage provision, which has been removed. The proposal would have phased in a $15 federal minimum wage by setting the federal wage at $9.50 and increasing $1.50 per year until hitting $15 in 2025. Arizona’s minimum wage is $12.15 as of January 1, 2021 and is indexed to inflation. The $1.50 annual increases would likely have “caught” AZ’s minimum wage in two years, accelerating it to $15 ahead of inflation, which would also result in increased costs to districts such as were experienced with the AZ wage increase to $12.
Once passed, as with previous stimulus bills, direct payments would begin in short order, while allocations to districts may take several weeks to finalize.
The bill must receive final approval by the House before it goes to the president for signature. They are expected to take up the measure today, March 10.
Meet the Equity Event keynote speakers PLUS don’t miss all three BONUS workshops
Registration now open
Each of us are carries barriers or biases that we’re not even aware of. They influence what we think and the decisions we make. What are they and how can recognizing them help the students, school systems and the communities we serve?
This year’s three keynote speakers will tackle those questions from their own unique perspectives – and help you do the same. And, don’t miss all three BONUS workshops!
This year’s three keynote speakers will tackle those questions from their own unique perspectives – and help you do the same. And, don’t miss all three BONUS workshops!
THE KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Founder and Lead Facilitator, Social Centric Institute
For the past 25 years, Calvin Terrell has lectured trained and lead comprehensive workshops for valuing diversity, equity and justice-building in schools, corporations, and civic organizations for thousands of adults, children and youth throughout the United States. He is founder and lead facilitator of Social Centric Institute, an organization he designed to provide education and training for all ages to enhance human interactions and global progress. He is a former assistant director of the National Conference for Community Justice/Anytown USA Arizona Region, has taught for Upward Bound at Arizona State University and the Arizona National Guard’s Freedom Academy, and is a past recipient of the City of Phoenix Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Living the Dream Award. Dig Deeper – Attend Calvin’s Bonus Workshop!
Dr. Jennifer Harvey
Educator, Author and Activist
Dr. Jennifer Harvey is an educator, author, highly sought-after public speaker and anti-racist activist. She can often be found engaging diverse audiences and working with communities as they wrestle with real questions about the challenges to be faced and the frameworks necessary to create robust, sustainable, multi-racial solidarity for justice. Her most recent book, “Raising White Kids,” explores how white communities and leaders can more deeply support racial justice work being led by communities of color. She is also the author of “Whiteness and Morality: Pursuing Racial Justice through Reparations and Sovereignty” and a co-editor of “Disrupting White Supremacy: White People on What We Need to Do.” Join Dr. Harvey for a bonus Q&A session
Bill De La Cruz
Author, Facilitator and Former School Board Member
Bill de la Cruz is a speaker, facilitator, author and former school board member who has been guiding individuals and groups through the process of personal transformation, as a mediator and workshop leader for 30 years. His book, “Finding the Origination Point: Understanding Our Biases to Create a More Peaceful World,” is about deconstructing biases so that they do not constrict our interactions with people who fit our biased experiences, an unconscious process that controls our interactions. He developed his programs and workshops to help individuals and groups build self-awareness, enhance relationships, and to help foster positive, sustainable personal growth. Take Time for Self-Reflection – Attend Bill’s bonus workshop!
Meet ASBA’s Coconino County Director, Harriett Sloan
Get to know ASBA’s Board of Directors by reading their profile.
Name, district and county: Harriett Sloan, Tuba City USD, Coconino County
How long have you been a board member? 12 months
How do you define leadership in school boardsmanship? To lead as if the entire team of board members matter and to listen, respect opinions, provide an environment that is welcoming and acknowledge ideas of others.
What is your favorite ASBA conference/event and why? It’s about working with four other individuals, mobilizing our different talents, skills and diverse perspectives as board members to best meet the needs of all students to successfully achieve the education they need.
What do you like best about serving on the ASBA Board of Directors? It’s a new challenge and a great learning opportunity to better serve our schools, the students and communities. I want to be the voice for my community as well as assist other rural school districts. ASBA has the resources to prepare me to better serve.
How has ASBA helped you become a better school board member? ASBA is helping me to become better informed and building my awareness of my role and responsibilities as a board member. The leadership development opportunities and support ASBA provides is amazing.
ASBA Member Benefit: Membership in the Alliances and Caucus is open free-of-charge to all school board members
Are you ready to get more involved in leading for increased equity and opportunity?
Take part in state-level dialogue and action improving the academic achievement of the students you serve. Membership in the Alliances and Caucus is open free-of-charge to all school board members interested in doing more to meet and address the specific educational needs of students of color and students in rural communities.
ASBA Black Alliance
The Black Alliances focuses on the school board’s role in improving opportunities and outcomes for Black students through activities that:
• Enhance understanding of equity in education.
• Improve service delivery to ASBA members around equity in education.
• Improve recruitment of leaders who reflect the demographics of their communities.
• Increase member access to public education allies for underrepresented students.
• Increase cultural and social competence among public education leaders and partners.
The purpose of the Rural Alliance is to strategically enhance the work of ASBA and its member boards in cultivating excellence in locally governed rural and remote school districts, with a focus on:
• Networking opportunities to encourage positive, effective relationships and collaborative efforts among leaders of rural and remote school districts.
• Ensuring representation by rural and remote leaders within the governance of the ASBA.
• Collective and strategic advocacy and member education to improve opportunities and outcomes for students in rural Arizona.
Hispanic-Native American Indian Caucus
The purpose of the HNAIC is to:
• To promote quality education for all students, focusing on the needs of Hispanic and Native American students.
• To promote positive relationships among Hispanic and Native American school boards, members of their communities, political leaders and ASBA.
• To promote legislation to improve educational opportunities for Hispanic, Native American and other students of color in public schools.
• To promote positive representation of Hispanic and Native American board members in ASBA.
Membership is free and open to any individual, regardless of their race, ethnicity, culture or origin, with a sincere desire to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for students in Arizona. Membership is comprised primarily of school board members, however, superintendents, district staff, community and business allies may also join. To become a member, go to the ASBA website.
How many of us feel like the child in the back seat asking, “Are we there yet?”
By James Bryce, ASBA Treasurer
We are all ready for the pandemic to be over and to get back to normal. However, just like the child in the back seat and no matter how much we keep asking or yearn for the ride to be over. We will get there when we get there and no sooner. But where is there? How do we know when it is safe? How do we know the worst is behind us? Do we go back to the way it was or do we try to find our new normal? What is normal? These are just a few of the many questions that we as school board members have been grappling with since this all began.
And I must say, Arizona school board members have been doing an outstanding job. We did the job that our local school district voters elected us to do. We gathered all the information that was available, talked to our community, asked for advice and we made the best plan for our local district. I bet, I can safely say that none of us campaigned on our vast knowledge and ability to navigate a pandemic, but we did it. And here is the best part, not all district boards did the same thing. Yet, every board made decisions based on what was best for their community and student population. And for that district, it was absolutely the right choice. This can only happen when we exercise local control. I know that what my board did was the best choice for Solomon, but in no way would it have been what was best for Tolleson.
This does not mean that we are not all in this together. On the contrary, I believe that it is because our strength as an association that we can have access to the critical information that aids us in our decision-making process. Not only do we have access to large amounts of data, but we can also reach out and network with other board members across the state. Great job team. This is what it looks like when local control meets statewide cooperation.
“Are we there yet?” I believe that the answer is still, no we are not there yet, but we are getting closer. And as we finish out this school year and begin to come out the other side of the pandemic, I would like for you to consider the last trip you took on an airplane. During your trip you had a takeoff, you cruised at a high altitude and then you landed. While cruising at a high altitude, if a mistake is made, there is generally plenty of time to recover and all is forgotten once the plane has landed. If a mistake is made during takeoff or landing, there is little or no time to recover and results could be disastrous.
Think of our journey this year as a plane trip. We had a rough takeoff when schools started shutting down, but we made to cruising altitude and have managed to recover from any mistakes we have made during our trip. Now is the time to prepare for the landing. If we do this right, and I am confident we will, our students will have survived a rough trip and experienced a great landing. I am sure all will be well. I look forward to the day when we can look back, talk about the pandemic and say, “That’s why we have local control.”
Register for TODAY’S Wednesday Webinars: Focus on Communications: How to Engage Your Community to Overcome Barriers to Trust: March 10, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
This webinar will help offer key examples and strategies when communicating the importance of transparency effectively. Presenters will offer examples and resources when crafting family engagement messaging to ensure you avoid common pitfalls and help your audiences consider family engagement more productively. The resources in this webinar are designed to help districts achieve these goals. Equipped with these strategies, school districts can collectively build the understanding and support they need to change the narrative around family, school and community engagement.
Next Monday is the deadline! ASBA’s student scholarships will soon close!
Our student award contests are now being held in the Spring! Applications for all student awards are now open and must be received by 5 p.m. March 15. View award criteria, entry materials and other details by clicking here. Please pass on these student opportunities to your school district communities!
Jack Peterson Scholarship
The Jack Peterson Scholarship is awarded annually to exceptional high school seniors who plan to pursue college degrees in teaching. Recipients shall have maintained a high school record that reflects high academic achievement and regular attendance, respectable leadership and citizenship among peers, and sustained participation in school and community activities.
Amounts of the awards vary from year to year and are based on annual earnings from the scholarship endowment. Last year’s scholarships were $1,300 each.
The scholarship was established in honor of ASBA Executive Director Jack Peterson, who served the association from 1991 to 1998.
Panfilo H. Contreras Honorary Scholarship
The Panfilo H. Contreras Honorary Scholarship was awarded for the first time in 2013 by ASBA’s Hispanic-Native American Indian Caucus. Hispanic and Native American Indian students who are juniors or seniors in high school are eligible to apply for this scholarship to support their attendance at an accredited post-secondary institution. Last year’s scholarships were $1,000 each.
AZEdNews Scholarship: Alexander Fenlon receives AZEdNews Scholarship sponsored by The Brand Agency
Alexander Fenlon, a senior at University High School in Tolleson Union High School District, is the latest winner of the AZEdNews Scholarship sponsored by The Brand Agency. Fenlon is planning on going to Arizona State…read full article
Upcoming ASBA Events
March 24, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Wednesday Webinars: Tools for Embedding Multi-Cultural Perspective into Curriculum
April 14, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Wednesday Webinars: Making the Superintendent Evaluation Process Meaningful
Plus more! You can find all Wednesday webinars on the ASBA webpage, https://azsba.org/events-asba/. Can’t view the webinar live? No problem. Go ahead and register and you will receive the recording automatically by email so you can view it later. There is no cost to register for this webinar. We encourage advance registration.
Register Now: Virtual Equity Event, April 21-23
SPECIAL FOCUS: CULTURE, RACE AND ETHNICITY
Since the founding of The Equity Event seven years ago, we have unwrapped the many influences, characteristics and circumstances that impact our students and contribute to gaps in opportunity and outcomes, among them family income, access to food and shelter, physical and cognitive ability, gender and gender identity, immigration status, and even the location of the student’s home and the district itself.
Culture, race and ethnicity intersect with all those factors and are woven deeply into the lives of each and every student we serve. The heightened local, state and national dialogue around racial equity compels us as leaders to look at race more deeply.
At this year’s Equity Event, we’ll investigate these rich, human aspects of our students and ourselves so that we can serve every student well and justly moving forward.
Featuring Arizona poet laureate Alberto Rios and a special reading of his poem “A House Called Tomorrow.”