The Council of the Great City Schools, the nation’s primary coalition of large urban public-school districts, sent a letter to Congress today urging the approval of new funding for local school systems in the next coronavirus supplemental appropriations bill.
The letter, addressed to congressional leaders and signed by the superintendents of 62 big-city school districts, including Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), called for additional federal allocation of $175 billion in Educational Stabilization Funds to be distributed at the local level through Title I. The group also urged Congress to provide an additional $13 billion for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), $12 billion in additional Title I program funding, and $2 billion for E-Rate and emergency infrastructure funds that include public schools.
The coalition is asking federal lawmakers for financial support to help offset the unexpected costs districts are incurring in providing meals to students and transforming to distance learning, due to necessary school closures. Despite bold efforts by M-DCPS and many other school districts to provide instruction while a student remains home, additional resources are needed to provide electronic learning devices and internet connection to every child.
M-DCPS has already distributed more than 112,000 digital devices to students, including laptops, tablets and phones with Wi-Fi connectivity, and served nearly 1.6 million meals since school closures began on March 16. The District’s commitment to these efforts will continue.
In late March, Congress allocated $13.5 billion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, for the nation’s public school districts to use in a variety of ways, including student nutrition, mental health support, facilitating remote student learning and purchasing Internet-connected devices and other technology.
“Miami-Dade County Public Schools will continue to advocate for its fair share of federal CARES stimulus funding in order to protect educational programs and our workforce,” said Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho. “We will lobby aggressively in Tallahassee and in Washington D.C. to mitigate the local economic impact. The generous taxpayers of our community deserve no less.”
Because of declines in state and local revenues, significant shortfalls are looming for local school systems. Several big-city school districts are projecting 15 to 25 percent cuts in overall revenues going into next school year.
Extra funds would allow school districts to amplify summer school programming and expand the school day, address the needs of the most vulnerable students and stabilize the teaching force, which has been so instrumental during the distance learning process.
To read the Council of Great City Schools letter to Congress, click HERE.
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