Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fayette County BOE Chairwoman Terri Smith Appointed FRN Member

Fayette County Board of Education Chairwoman Terri Smith was among the 1,300 school board members nationwide appointed to participate in the Federal Relations Network (FRN) this year.

FRN is a program of the National School Boards Association that involves local school board members from every congressional district in the country who are committed to grassroots advocacy for public education. State school board associations appoint members to the network, usually up to five local school board members for each congressional district in the state.

Responsibilities as a FRN member are significant. During the course of a year, participants receive vital information concerning federal education legislation and national issues. Collectively, they make their voices heard by responding to calls-to-action that involve phoning, faxing or writing federal legislators on various educational issues. They also keep their fellow board members apprised of issues by distributing background materials to get them and others involved.

Because school board members stand on the front lines of education, they are able to tell members of Congress what will or will not work in local districts. Many senators and representatives have come to rely on FRN members to advise them on the vast array of issues that affect public schoolchildren.

This year, members of the network were able to accomplish the following:

1. Continue Medicaid reimbursement to schools.

2. Restore $1.645 billion for four years in funding for the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.

3. Successfully oppose proposals to cut education funding.

4. Successfully defeated a measure in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 that would have limited local school districts’ abilities to raise tax rates, having a negative impact on school budgets.

5. Intensify the discussion about the flaws in the No Child Left Behind Act and increase the urgency to fix the law.

6. Secure federal support to help districts recruit and retain quality teachers for high-need schools and subjects.

7. Successfully continue the fight against vouchers.

8. Generate awareness about the importance of early education.

9. Secure final passage of Head Start reauthorization.

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