The Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing this week to discuss recommendations for reauthorizing the Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act. Last reauthorized in 2006, CTE provides more than $1 billion to states and school districts annually to help support curricula and training for students, including apprenticeships and credentials needed in the workforce. During the hearing, both witnesses and Committee members noted the success of CTE programs and provided insight about efforts underway to align CTE programs with local and regional workforce demands. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) testified before the Committee and discussed efforts he is championing in the Senate to support greater opportunities for college and career readiness, such as dual enrollment and expanded partnerships with business and industry.
Dr. Monty Sullivan, president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, encouraged the Committee to consider the following recommendations in its upcoming legislation to help respond to both workforce and industry needs and also improve the value proposition to students:
–Align Perkins with tenets of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, such as utilizing access to salary data and benchmarks for economic growth and competitiveness;
–Maximize investments in CTE programs;
–Emphasize regional plans/partnerships;
–Encourage dual enrollment opportunities focused on completion and credentials; and
–Consider allowances for special populations such as veterans entering workforce.
Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) reiterated that CTE programs have to work “at the speed of business.”
“We need to apply many of the same methods from the Every Student Succeeds Act,” Chairman Kline stated, while referencing greater state and local autonomy, better information for accountability, and “restricting the federal role.”
NSBA is engaged in the reauthorization process and has provided House and Senate education committee staff with resources to inform the legislation, including the Center for Public Education research series titled “The Path Least Taken: Preparing Non-College Goers for Success.” Findings show that advanced courses with an occupational focus make a difference in student outcomes.
On May 18, President Obama and Secretary Perez announced the publication of the Department of Labor’s final rule updating the overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The rule will be published in the Federal Register and therefore final on May 23. The rule, which does not impact teachers and administrators, will go into effect for public, private and non-profit employers on December 1, 2016. Additional details can be found here. NSBA has been a continuous advocate for school district flexibility in the proposed rule.
To date, Congress has conducted several oversight hearings of the Department of Labor to examine the requirements of the rule. Now that the Department of Labor is taking final steps to finalize the rule, individual members of Congress have stated that they are evaluating and considering ways to delay or nullify the rule prior to the rule becoming effective.
NSBA has initially reviewed the final rule and identified the following changes affecting school districts as employers:
Rule: Though the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new overtime rule is anticipated to be published on May 23, 2016, the final rule does not take effect until December 1, 2016. That means that all employers, of all shapes and sizes, must be in compliance with the salary threshold requirements by that date, irrespective of their fiscal year start dates.
Implications: This could be a challenge for school districts, because by this time in a school district’s calendar, most school districts have likely already prepared their budgets for the upcoming 2016-17 school year. However, there may still be time to make modifications based on a July 1 fiscal year.
Rule: Although the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions expressly apply to an “employee employed in the capacity of academic administrative personnel or teacher[s],” the salary level and salary basis requirements do not apply to bona fide teachers.
Implications: Administrators and teachers are exempt from the overtime rule, and are not eligible for overtime compensation.
Rule: The minimum salary threshold for all non-highly-compensated employee categories (executive, administrative, and professional) is $47,476/year, based on the lowest-wage Census Region (Southern).
Implications: This is lower than what was in the proposed rule. DOL initially proposed $50,440/yr., however, the final rule set the salary threshold at $47,476/yr. This lower threshold means fewer school district employees will likely be affected by the rule change.
Rule: The minimum salary threshold for all highly compensated employees has been raised to $134,004/year.
Implications: This is higher than what the proposed rule initially set forth, and is based on national wages. DOL initially proposed $122,148/yr., while the final rule set the amount at $134,004/yr. This higher threshold means more highly paid school district employees will continue to be ineligible for overtime under the rule.
Rule: The proposed annual update to the minimum salary threshold has been changed from every year to every THREE years, setting the date for the increase to a firm January 1st date, beginning on January 1, 2020. Again, this triennial automatic salary update will occur irrespective of a school district’s fiscal year start date.
Implications: A longer period for threshold changes means school districts do not have to anticipate yearly budgetary changes based on the final rule. This shift to a calendar year update schedule means that school districts will have to make these financial changes mid-budgetary cycle. However, the three-year period provided in the final rule gives school districts more time to include changes in annual budget cycles as they prepare for the triennial increase. Thus, a school district can prepare for the January 1, 2020 increase during the development of the 2019-20 SY budget in early Spring 2019.
Rule: The final rule allows employers to include NON-discretionary bonuses, incentives, and commissions, paid quarterly or more frequently, as part of the total annual salary for exempt-status determinations.
Implications: Likely will not affect school district employees or budgets, since most if not all school employee compensation is paid pursuant to scheduled budgetary authorizations and schedules.
Rule: No change to the “Duties Test.”
Implications: None. Salaried workers who primarily perform executive, administrative, or professional duties continue to be exempt from DOL’s overtime rules. DOL may move to alter the duties test in the future based on comments received during this notice and comment period.
NSBA will continue to review the impact of the rule on school districts and we welcome your feedback on how it may impact your school districts. Stay tuned for additional information.
These are just a few of the many pieces of Legislation that passes through Congress each session that gives the Federal Government the over reaching arm to have a say in the day to day business of the States’ Public School Systems.