On Friday, March 23, the President signed the FY18 omnibus into law.

Thursday afternoon the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FY18 omnibus appropriations bills. And just now the U.S. Senate passed the legislation as well.  The bill now goes to the President for his signature. The bill must be signed into law by the President by 12 midnight on March 23 [TONIGHT!] to avoid a government shutdown.

We will continue to provide updates and additional information regarding the implementation of FY18 education funding for National PTA priorities and the application process for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers program.

Thank you again for all your advocacy efforts!!  Your voice matters and made a huge impact in ensuring that the necessary investments in education and that gun safety and violence prevention measures were included in the FY18 omnibus spending bill.

Last night, Congressional leaders reached an agreement on a bill to fund the government through September 2018. The bill includes all of National PTA’s top funding priorities, including $10 million in funding for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) program.

“For years, PTA members and families nationwide have been advocating for investments in the SFECs program because family engagement is critical to student success and school improvement efforts, including efforts to make our schools safer,” said Leslie Boggs, president-elect of National PTA. “We applaud Congressional leaders for acknowledging the importance of family engagement and for their bipartisan commitment to the SFECs program to help ensure every child receives a high-quality education in an environment that is safe and reaches their full potential.”

The SFECs program is included in the Every Student Succeeds Act. The program will provide states and districts with the capacity to support effective implementation and enhancement of meaningful family engagement policies and initiatives.

In addition to funding for the SFECs program, National PTA is pleased to see that the omnibus includes a $2.6 billion increase in funding for education overall from the fiscal year 2017 level as well as an increase of $300 million for Title I—which provides assistance to schools with high percentages of children from low-income families—and an increase of $275 million for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), through which grants are provided to states to help provide a quality education to children with disabilities.

National PTA is also pleased that the omnibus includes $1.1 billion in funding for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (Title IV-A), which support safe and healthy students through funding ofcomprehensive school mental health programs, drug and violence prevention programs, training on trauma-informed practices, and other health and physical education programs. Additionally, the grant program ensures school districts have the resources to support a well-rounded education and the effective use of technology in schools.

Further, National PTA is pleased that the omnibus effectively repeals the Dickey amendment, lifting a ban on research to study the causes and effects of gun violence. The bill also includes the STOP School Violence Act and the Fix NICS Act, both of which National PTA advocated for during its annual Legislative Conference last week.

“We have all watched in horror as our country has experienced far too many gun-related tragedies. Enacting these bipartisan policy solutions is essential to help provide a safer and healthier environment for students and protect our children,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “We commend Congressional leaders for addressing gun safety and violence prevention and investing in programs to ensure our children can learn and thrive in school. National PTA urges Congress to pass the omnibus and the president to sign it as soon as possible for students, families, schools and communities.”