SCHUMER REVEALS: WITHOUT FED FUNDS ROCHESTER-FINGER LAKES SCHOOLS MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO SAFELY REOPEN; COSTS OF PPE, PHYSICAL BARRIERS & OTHER SUPPLIES COULD BADLY DRAIN LOCAL RESOURCES, MAKING IT MUCH HARDER FOR ROCHESTER DISTRICTS TO OPEN SAFELY; SENATOR PUSHES PLAN TO COVER THOSE COSTS WITH FED DOLLARS IN ‘COVID-4’ & ALLOW SCHOOLS TO SAFELY REOPEN
Schumer Says Local Schools, Like Those Across The Rochester-Finger Lakes Region, Have Some Federal Guidelines To Reopen Safely Amid COVID-19 BUT Not Enough Fed Funds To Afford Them; Pushes New Plan To Inject $175B Into Nation’s K-12 Schools To Meet The Need
Without Fed Funds To Cover Massive Cost Of PPE, Barriers, Cleaning Supplies & More, Local Budgets Would Be Crushed, Local Taxes Could Rise & Some Schools Might Stay Closed
Schumer: It Would Simply Be Nails On The Chalkboard If A Lack Of Fed Funds Kept Rochester From Safely Reopening Schools
Citing COVID-19 costs too big for New York school districts to carry alone, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer revealed that without specific federal funds schools throughout the Rochester-Finger Lakes region might not be able to reopen safely come fall.
“Everyone wants our schools to reopen, but the federal government must lead the way by funding the safety measures that would open the doors of schools throughout the Rochester and Finger Lakes region in a way that helps ensure the coronavirus does not needlessly spread or infect teachers, kids or staff,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.
“Without federal dollars to cover the massive costs of PPE, barriers, cleaning supplies and more, local school budgets across Upstate New York would be crushed, local taxes could rise and some schools might simply stay closed—and we do not want that. That’s why we need to take action in ‘COVID-4’ and commit $175 billion to the goal of safely reopening K-12 schools for all,” Schumer added.
Schumer said costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), physical barriers and other supplies at schools, like those used for cleaning, could badly drain local resources, making it much harder for New York districts to open safely and ensure the collective protection of kids, teachers and staff. He announced a new legislative push to include much-needed assistance in a “Corona-4” legislative package. His plan would work to substantially cover the aforementioned costs with federal dollars, allowing schools to safely reopen. Schumer is pushing for $175 billion dollars for K-12 schools across the country, and says New York would see a massive chunk of that allotment.
Schumer’s plan, crafted alongside U.S. Senator Patty Murray, was just introduced as the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA), and includes other efforts as well, each critical to supporting childcare and education amid the pandemic. Schumer explained that without major help from the federal government, New York would be devastated and the nation would risk losing 4.5 million child care slots and losing 1.9 million education jobs, exacerbating students’ learning loss.
“The bottom line here is that the coronavirus brought with it unprecedented health and economic challenges for students, families, educators, and learning institutions across the country—challenges disproportionately felt by students of color, students from low-income families, students with disabilities, and more,” Schumer added. “So, action is needed now to save teaching jobs, preserve millions of child care slots, and ensure every student has access to a safe, quality education.”
Sherry Johnson Executive Director of the Monroe County School Boards Association said, “We know that however and whenever schools open, it will require many additional expenses. Without federal funding those dollars will need to come from already flat operating dollars which will mean cutting programs. Our communities stepped up tremendously in their support for our budgets this year with double to triple the absentee ballot votes indicating their absolute support for public education and our children. We appreciate Senator Schumer’s push for this bill that will make it possible to carry on the important work of educating the next generation of those who will need to run our economy, lead our governments and defend of our democracy.”
Dr. Tim Terranova, Superintendent of the Victor Central School District said, "I want to thank Senator Schumer for sponsoring a bill that will lessen the impact of potential further losses in state aid from schools such as Victor by increasing Federal money for our schools. The Victor Central School District community recently approved a school budget that exceeded our tax cap and we thank our fantastic community for this vote of confidence. Despite the increase, Victor still has one of the smallest per pupil expenditures of any school district in the entire state. Federal revenue will help our community decrease its reliance on property tax as revenue while making an impact on our ability to support a 21st Century, comprehensive education. "
Dr. Marla Iverson, Executive Director of the Four County School Boards Association stated, "The 25 component districts of the Wayne-Finger Lakes region have worked diligently in difficult financial times to avoid cuts to programs and a negative impact on students. COVID-19 has brought major unplanned expenses that without the help of CCCERA, would force difficult program decisions on the district. Safety in the journey to reopening schools is paramount to our districts. The financial support of Senator Schumer’s proposed bill will help to realize this goal."
Highlighted aspects of the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA) Schumer will fight for in COVID-4 include:
- $50 billion for a Child Care Stabilization Fund, to ensure that child care providers can stay open, educators can continue getting paid, and working families get tuition relief;
- $1.5 billion to address and prevent child abuse and neglect, to support the child welfare workforce and to fund community-based prevention programs that strengthen families;
- $345 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund, including:
- $175 billion for K-12 schools, to help schools address learning loss, implement public health protocols, and provide quality education to all students—whether they open in-person, remotely, or a hybrid of both;
- $132 billion for higher education, to help colleges and universities deliver a quality education for their students, implement public health protocols, and provide emergency financial aid to students for expenses like food, housing, child care, and technology;
- $33 billion for a Governor’s Fund, to allow governors to allocate funds for needed educational services to areas of their states hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis.