From her perch on the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee, U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., is calling for $200 billion in additional funds for education in the next stimulus bill to help the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Wilson wrote leaders from both congressional chambers, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on the matter on Friday.
“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on state and local government budgets as a result of massive losses of tax revenues. In addition, while schools have been closed for several weeks and will not reopen until the fall, they have had to implement distance learning programs, continue to provide meals, and perform other functions,” Wilson’s office insisted.
“Allocating $13.5 billion in the CARES Act provided critical funding during very difficult times. However, a second, substantially larger installment for public school systems is incredibly important to further the progress that we have made to keep our schools open and financially healthy during these perilous times,” Wilson wrote. “With additional federal funds, America’s public schools will be able to administer summer school, expand the school day after reopening in the fall, retain and stabilize our teaching force, address the needs of our most vulnerable students, narrow the digital divide, and have a fighting chance to salvage the futures of millions of young people.”
Wilson threw her support for $175 billion in Educational Stabilization Funds which she wants “distributed at the local level through the Title I formula;” $13 billion for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs; $12 billion in additional Title I program funding; $2 billion for E-Rate; and emergency infrastructure funds to help public schools.
“As a former school principal, I have a unique understanding of the challenges public schools are currently dealing with and the educational and health obstacles they will face in the fall,” said Wilson. “They will need every available resource to fully function when they reopen and confront these new challenges. We owe it to the teachers who have shown up for their students every day during the school closure and to the nation’s children whose futures are on the line as a result of this public health nightmare.”
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