Legislative Action Team Advisory

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Save The Date! Government Relations Workshop, Feb. 21–22

The 2008 Government Relations Workshop hosted by the International Reading Association on February 21 and 22, 2008 in Washington, D.C., will help you strengthen your advocacy efforts and actively impact legislation such as the reauthorization of NCLB. You will learn about federal and state legislative issues and have the opportunity to communicate directly with your congressional leaders or their staffs.

This is a no-cost workshop for IRA members hosted by IRA's Washington Office and the Government Relations Committee. There is a fully refundable $50.00 registration fee. This fee is refunded upon notification of cancellation or when attending the conference. This policy is to provide an accurate meal count to IRA. We will provide a breakfast and working lunch on Friday. All other related expenses (transportation, lodging, food, and entertainment) are the responsibility of the workshop attendees. Many participants receive funding from their state councils to help pay for costs.

Registrations will be sent out shortly. Feel free to call the IRA Washington office with questions regarding the workshop at 202-624-8800 or contact us at irawash@reading.org. Updates for the Workshop will be posted on the IRA website, http://www.reading.org/. We look forward to seeing you in February 2008.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

CEF chart outlines several key programs

Federal Funding for the next school year

The fiscal year began on October 1st with a continuing resolution in place. For education programs this has little impact as our funding for this school year was appropriated last year. However, it is important for next year. IRA members routinely report that one of the key problems with NCLB is the lack of funds.

This week the Senate is expected to take up their appropriations bill. The Senate bill is above the President in its proposed spending for education, but below the president. In gross terms:

FY 07 President 08 House 08 Senate Committee 08
$67.2 $62.6 $65.6 $63.6 (in billion)

The problem is the overall spending level for non-defense appropriations. The President is pushing for a lower figure and may well veto any spending bill over his budget. The Senate a coalition of Democrats and Republicans are saying that they want an increased allocation so that they can put more into education. In the House they made a higher allocation to education and are trying to expand support for a higher Senate level – in both Republican and Democratic circles. They want to have a bill that is “veto-proof.”

Current timing is for the Senate to vote this week and then quickly move to a House-Senate conference and then send the bill to the president. Most likely it will be vetoed and then more cuts will be made OR an over-ride.

The Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of over 100 education groups, including IRA, is pushing for the entire education community to push for a vote in the Senate and then for the higher numbers in the House. For IRA members who wish to support higher spending, call your Senator this week (202-224-3121) and ask for your Senator to support the higher allocation for education. There are a lot of discussions going on now to determine what program will get what specific funding amount.