Congress Neglects Children: No Relief for Public Schools or State Budgets | janresseger
Congress Neglects Children: No Relief for Public Schools or State Budgets
Public schools are the linchpin holding together our society’s supports for 50 million children. Public schools are where our children practice learning, computing, critical thinking, imagining; where they develop skills in writing, reading, musicianship, art, and all kinds of sports; and where they learn to respect one another. For children whose economic needs are greatest, public schools provide breakfast and lunch. Many wraparound schools now serve as sites for health and dental care, house after-school and childcare programs, and connect parents with broader social service providers.
After a wait of over two months following the U.S. House of Representatives’ May 15, passage of a second COVID-19 relief HEROES Act—which included money to help public schools make safety adjustments to classrooms, buses, and ventilation systems before the fall term and money to shore up the state budgets which provide 47 percent of K-12 public school funding—the Senate refused to compromise. Last week Congress gave up without agreeing on a relief package including needed help for public education. And during the negotiations, President Donald Trump tried to make assistance for public schools contingent upon their immediate reopening despite the explosive spread of COVID-19 across many communities. Trump and members of his administration claim there is plenty of funding unspent from the first COVID-19 relief bill, the CARES Act, if public schools need more money to help them prepare for safely reopening. In fact, however, states have already committed 75 percent of the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund. The money available for public schools has been spent or has been promised for costs school districts have already planned.