May 14, 2020
May 15, 2020
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a new $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill Friday that includes additional aid for K-12 schools, but which has little chance of becoming law.
The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions, or HEROES Act, passed 208-199. It faces an icy reception in the Republican-controlled Senate, where lawmakers who are concerned its provisions extend beyond pandemic relief, have said they won't consider the bill.
Education funding included in the relief package falls short of the goals of education groups, who pushed federal lawmakers to include at least $250 billion for education in the bill.
The HEROES Act would create a $90 billlion "state fiscal stabilization fund" for the U.S. Department of Education to support K-12 and higher education. About 65 percent of that fund—or roughly $58 billion—would go through states to local school districts.
The bill would also provide $1 billion to shore up state and local government budgets that have been hard hit by declining tax revenues as businesses closed to slow the spread of the virus. Governors—and Democrats who supported the bill— have said such general state aid is necessary to support their upended budgets and to help them avoid making steep cuts to education and other public services. School finance experts say such cuts would disproportionately affect schools with large enrollments of low-income students, which rely more heavily on state funding.
"Without this funding [state and local governments] will have to make devastating cuts, especially in education, public safety and public services," House education committee Chairman Bobby Scott, D-Va., said during debate on the bill.
------May 14, 2020
California Teachers Association President E. Toby Boyd issued the following statement Thursday as Gov. Gavin Newsom released the state budget’s May Revision:
“Deep cuts to education will stand in the way of readying our schools for the safe return of students and further prolong the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Newsom’s leadership and commitment to safety in our public schools and colleges has been clear and much appreciated since the coronavirus surfaced in our communities 10 weeks ago.
“As educators, we are woefully familiar with the disruption and wrath of the quarantine having to quickly shift to a new way of educating our students while also caring for our own children. Educators across the state rolled up their sleeves and took the challenge head on for the sake of our students – not only teaching from their homes, but also making sure students are fed and helping to provide computers and other supports. It’s with that same fervor that we must collaborate as educators, lawmakers, parents, administrators, and community members to identify and commit to funding sources that will stop all cuts to education and make way for the resources necessary to make our schools and colleges fit for our students’ safe return.
“The safety and well-being of students, teachers, and education support professionals cannot be compromised and must be addressed prior to reopening schools. This includes deep cleaning and sanitizing of school campuses and busses, having the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), social and physical distancing in classrooms and workspaces, nurses who receive training and guidance to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, and counselors to help students deal with the trauma and uncertainty.
“We strongly appreciate the governor’s commitment to supporting public education in the current budget by allocating $4.4 billion in federal funding to support schools and colleges and address any learning loss for students.But the proposed education cuts for the 2020-21 budget will be devastating at a time when students need more support. Schools must have the resources they need to safely reopen schools and colleges in a manner that will protect students, teachers, and employees. More than $10 billion in proposed cuts will lead to cuts to vital student programs, educator layoffs, furlough days and pay cuts just like it did during the last recession when we lost 33,000 educators. Our students, our schools, our colleges, and our families cannot afford to go back.
“There is no denying that the state and country are facing a recession, and that for years California students and educators, schools and colleges have had to do more with less. There is no denying there is a significant digital divide and inequity of access to technology and resources that puts a portion of our students at risk of falling further behind. There is no denying we need bold thinking, leadership, and action throughout the coming weeks that will build California's future rather than tear down the last six years of progress we have made on school funding. This will require a combination of solutions including federal funding provided in the HEROES Act, the Schools & Communities First initiative on the November ballot, and additional state revenues in order to prevent mid-year cuts and educator layoffs at a moment in history when our students need to heal in a safe and secure learning environment. We look forward to having many conversations with the legislature and governor to stop cuts that will have a real impact on our students.”
CTA members are asking fellow Californians to call their members of Congress at 1-855-977-1770 immediately before the House votes Friday and urge them to:
Support providing $1 trillion for state and local governments in the HEROES Act and at least $175 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund; and
Support at least $2 billion for the E-Rate program to promote internet equity.
The 310,000-member California Teachers Association is affiliated with the 3 million-member National Education Association.
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