SCHUMER REVEALS: WITHOUT FED FUNDS, SOUTHERN TIER 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 SOUTHERN TIER 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 Southern Tier, Have Some State & 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 And To Keep Students, Teachers, Workers Safe
Without Fed Funds To Cover Massive Cost Of PPE, Barriers, Cleaning Supplies, & More, Local Budgets Would Be Crushed, Local Taxes Could Rise & Some Schools Eligible to Open Based on Public Health Data Might Stay Closed
Schumer: It Would Simply Be Nails On The Chalkboard If A Lack Of Fed Funds Kept The Southern Tier From Safely Reopening Schools
Citing COVID-19 costs as too big for New York school districts to carry alone, and alongside Corey Green, Superintendent of the Owego Apalachin Central School District, and Jason Van Fossen, Maine-Endwell Superintendent of Schools, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer revealed yesterday that without specific federal funds, schools throughout the Southern Tier might not be able to reopen safely come fall, even though public health data and NY state guidelines permit it.
“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 Southern Tier 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, especially given potential 20% cuts to state and local education budgets. Therefore, the senator 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.”
School district leaders in the Southern Tier echoed Schumer’s call.
“School districts across New York State, and in particular, the Maine-Endwell Central School District, are faced with substantial known costs needed to reopen schools. The harsh reality for most Districts is the funds needed to procure these necessary materials and supplies do not exist. School districts will be forced to drain limited reserves, borrow, or reduce expenditures in other non-mandated areas in order to meet these needs. Collectively, these decisions will negatively impact school programming and, in particular, student opportunities. Without federal support, New York State schools, including the Maine-Endwell Central School District, will take substantial steps backward in meeting the needs of our children,” said Jason R. Van Fossen, Superintendent of Schools for Maine-Endwell CSD.
"We are hopeful that a new federal stimulus plan will support the health, safety, social emotional and academic needs of our children moving forward,” said Corey Green, Superintendent of Owego Apalachin Central School District.
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.