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Kline Introduces Third Bill in Education Reform Series

H.R. 2445 puts decisions about education spending in the hands of state and local leaders

U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-MN) today introduced the third in the committee’s series of education reform bills designed to overhaul current elementary and secondary education law. The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act (H.R. 2445) will provide states and local school districts maximum flexibility in how they use federal education dollars.

Chairman Kline said, “Superintendents and principals from across the nation repeatedly tell me they need more freedom to decide how federal education dollars should be used to support students. Washington bureaucrats cannot dictate how money is best spent in the classroom – those decisions should be left to the teachers, school administrators, superintendents, principals, and state leaders who have an integral knowledge of the needs of our kids. The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act will help get the federal government out of the way of student achievement and encourage more innovative education reforms on the local level.”

Under current law, the federal government operates a host of elementary and secondary education programs, each with their own set of strict and complex rules mandating exactly how funds may be spent by local school districts. This process of funneling funding through separate streams severely limits states’ and school districts’ ability to apply federal funds to the local education priorities and initiatives that best serve the unique needs of their students. The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act will allow states and school districts maximum flexibility in the use of federal education funds, thus supporting more opportunities to fulfill local education priorities.

Committee Republican cosponsors have expressed strong support for the legislation:

Rep. Howard ‘Buck’ McKeon (R-CA)

“The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act empowers states and local communities to direct funds in a targeted manner, allowing them to align funding to areas of greatest need rather than having ‘big-brother’ dictating where every dollar should be spent. Every state, school, and classroom is different, and it has been proven time and time again that our education system works best when choice and flexibility are granted to local administrators, teachers, and parents. This legislation will breathe new life into schools and classrooms by allowing a redirection of funds to areas with specific need, thereby eliminating additional waste.”

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)

“Mandates from bureaucrats in Washington continue to be a disaster for our education system. As a parent and a legislator, I am a strong supporter of the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act which puts local and state education administrators in control of how federal funds for elementary and secondary education programs are spent in their school districts.”

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)

“Without the proper flexibility, our nation’s schools and school districts will continue to face hurdles that constrain academic achievement and put students at a disadvantage. An approach that provides schools with more authority to determine how best to serve its students, without rigid mandates or directives from the federal government, is long overdue. The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act is a common sense approach that puts the decision making process where it belongs.”

Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN)

“Every student has unique needs, and those on the front lines – local educators and state governments – know how to best meet the needs of their classrooms. The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act provides states and school districts maximum flexibility in the use of education funds in order to best serve the needs of the individual student. This legislation partners with local schools, rather than micromanages, by encouraging innovation and development.”

Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA)

“Washington’s top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to education has failed our nation’s children. States, local school districts, teachers and parents know what is best when it comes to educating our children. The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act provides greater local control over education decisions, enabling states and school districts to determine how best to utilize federal resources to improve academic achievement and student performance.”

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY)

“Education is an investment in our children and our economic future – we need to invest wisely. Local school districts and educators know how best to spend funds to address their students’ needs. The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act removes burdensome conditions attached to federal funding, and with many schools facing budget trouble, this flexibility is essential to fulfill local priorities. No accountability would be lost through this effort since long-standing monitoring and reporting requirements will be maintained.”

Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN)

“I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act introduced by Chairman Kline. This legislation will allow education officials to tailor federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act funds to meet their local needs.  Hoosier school administrators have repeatedly expressed concerns about the restrictions that accompany federal dollars and the one-size-fits-all approach to program funding. The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act encourages innovation and promotes local control, and I am pleased to lend my support.”

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA)

“The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act will give local educators more control over how they use their federal funding. As the husband and father of teachers, I understand how important local control is in education. Teachers are the ones in the classrooms every day, and administrators can see what is working and what is not at the local level. It’s important for educators to have greater control to make sure we are funding programs that are proven to educate our children.”

Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD)

“In meeting after meeting with South Dakota education stakeholders, one of the top requests I hear is for greater flexibility in education. The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act provides the flexibility local school districts need and helps show that their representatives in Washington are responding to their needs.”

Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV)

“America’s education system is full of red-tape and isn’t doing our children justice. Our teachers aren’t holding our students back - the system is. The federal government’s one-size-fits-all approach is a disservice to our children and our educational professionals. We must explore ways to return local control over education, and get the federal government out of the way. The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act increases local control over education to benefit our children and, ultimately, our long-term economic needs.”

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA)

“My wife and daughter are both teachers and they will be the first to tell you that no two students are alike. As unique as our children are, so too should be the educational systems that serve them. The State and Local Funding Flexibility Act recognizes the best way to educate our youth is by giving those closest to them the freedom to support their classrooms’ specific needs and priorities. This bill will allow federal dollars to be spent on the programs that best serve our children’s needs, thereby delivering a level of accountability to taxpayers and our nation’s students.”

To view a bill summary, click here.   

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