ED Week: Congress Approves Budget Deal That Puts Brakes on Sequestration

Here. An excerpt:

School districts chafing under the across-the-board federal cuts known as sequestrationare about to get  a reprieve: The U.S. Senate gave final approval, on a vote of 64 to 36 Wednesday to a broad budget deal that would ward off the vast majority of the impending cuts to K-12 education spending—and nearly every other federal program—for the next two years.

. . . .

School districts say the fiscal breathing room can’t come soon enough. “At least we’re hopeful now, and we haven’t been hopeful for a while,” said David Pennington, the superintendent of the 5,400-student Ponca City school district in Oklahoma. He said the district—which has a high population of Native American students from a nearby reservation and receives federal Impact Aid to make up for lost tax dollars—was largely able to avoid layoffs last year. But, he said, “we weren’t going to be able to do that going forward.”

Hearing on Sequestration – 11/14

Tomorrow, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a hearing on the impact of sequestration on Indian Country.  

WASHINGTON D.C. – On Thursday, November 14 at 2:30 PM, Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will hold a U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs oversight hearing on the impact of sequestration on Indian Country and the ongoing effect of contract support cost shortfalls.

 The oversight hearing is comprised of witnesses from the Administration, Tribal leaders and impacted Tribal organizations. 

 The Committee will hear from representatives of the Administration on the impact of sequestration on Indian Country.  The Committee will also hear from the Administration on the management of contract support cost issues since the United States Supreme Court decision inU.S. v. Ramah, which held that Tribes are entitled to receive full contract support costs for their self-determination contracts and self-governance agreements. The Department of the Interior and the Indian Health Service will represent the Administration.

 The Committee will also hear from Tribes regarding the effects of sequestration on their communities and the impact of unpaid contract support costs.

 The Committee will hear testimony from leaders of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake

 Superior Chippewa, Cloquet, MN; Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, Siletz, OR; Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Choctaw, MS; Chickasaw Nation, Ada, OK;

Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Sault Ste. Marie, MI; and the National Congress of American Indians.

 The hearing will take place in Room 628 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building, and will be available online at indian.senate.gov


 WHAT: An oversight hearing on: the impact of sequestration on Indian Country and shortfalls in contract support costs for Tribes. 

WHEN: 2:30 PM, Thursday, November 14, 2013

 WHERE: 628 Dirksen Senate Office Building 

Live video and witness testimony will be provided at indian.senate.gov. 

 Panel I:

 THE HONORABLE KEVIN WASHBURN, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC

 THE HONORABLE YVETTE ROUBIDEAUX, Acting Director, Indian Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC

 Panel II:

 THE HONORABLE BRIAN CLADOOSBY, President, National Congress of American Indians, Washington, DC

 THE HONORABLE KAREN DIVER, Chairwoman, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Cloquet, MN

 THE HONORABLE ALFRED “BUD”  LANE, Vice Chairman, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, Siletz, OR

 THE HONORABLE PHYLISS ANDERSON, Chief, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Choctaw, MS

 THE HONORABLE JEFFERSON KEEL, Lieutenant Governor, Chickasaw Nation, Ada, OK

 THE HONORABLE AARON PAYMENT, Chairman, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Sault Ste. Marie, MI

Education Cuts Hang in Balance as Budget Haggling Begins

Here is the discussion from ED Week.  An excerpt:

Education advocates are keeping close tabs on a congressional conference committee charged with coming up with a budget solution in hopes that lawmakers may stop a series of blunt, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration. The cuts, which have already eliminated thousands of Head Start slots and caused some schools near Native American reservations and military bases to lay off staff, are slated to stay in place for a decade unless Congress acts to halt or change them.

It’s unclear if this new panel, formed last month through legislation that reopened the federal government after a 16-day shutdown and suspended the debt ceiling after the nation nearly defaulted, will be able to make headway. Congress has tried—and failed—to get rid of sequestration since the cuts were put in place in August of 2011, as part of yet another debt-ceiling deal.