Today, Superintendent Michael Hinojosa joins the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS), the nation’s primary coalition of large urban public-school districts, urging Congress to approve new funding for local school systems in the next coronavirus supplemental appropriations bill.
In a letter to Capitol Hill, the CGCS calls on an additional federal allocation of $175 billion in Educational Stabilization Funds to be distributed to the local level through the Title I formula. The group also urges Congress to provide an additional $13 billion for the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), $12 billion in additional Title I program funding, $2 billion for E-Rate, and emergency infrastructure funds that include public schools.
The letter, signed individually by 62 big-city superintendents, which includes Superintendent Hinojosa, asks federal lawmakers for financial support to help offset the unexpected costs districts are incurring in providing meal services to students and transforming from school-based to home-based learning in the wake of school closures. Furthermore, as aggressive as schools have been in providing instruction at a distance, districts continue to need resources to provide electronic learning devices and internet connections to every child.
Because of declines in state and local revenues, significant revenue shortfalls are looming for local school systems, as well, with several big-city school districts projecting 15 to 25 percent cuts in overall revenues going into next school year. According to the Council, an estimated 20 percent loss in combined state and local revenues would likely result in some 275,000 teachers being laid off in big-city public school systems alone.
“With additional federal funds, America’s public schools will be able to add 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 at salvaging the futures of millions of young people,” said the letter.