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Coronavirus 2020

Posted: April 28, 2020

APS Supt. Signs Letter Calling for More National Funding for Public Schools

Superintendent Raquel Reedy is among 62 big-city superintendents who signed the letter urging Congress to approve new funding for public education in the next coronavirus supplemental appropriations bill.

The letter to Capitol Hill written by the Council of the Great City Schools calls for an additional federal allocation of $175 billion in Educational Stabilization Funds to be distributed to the local level through the Title I formula. The Council, the nation’s primary coalition of large urban school districts, 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
  • Emergency infrastructure funds that include public schools. 

In addition, the letter asks federal lawmakers for financial support to help offset the unexpected costs districts are incurring in providing meals to students and transforming from school-based to home-based learning in the wake of school closures. 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.

Since New Mexico public schools were shuttered in mid-March, APS has served more than 1.5 million grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches to students and distributed, distributed more than 12,000 laptops to families that didn’t have a computer at home, and has worked with local providers to make sure families have internet access.

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.

APS is anticipating a multimillion-dollar shortfall in the 2021 fiscal year that begins July 1. While it hasn’t announced layoffs, the district did put new hires on hold because it had to close its background and fingerprinting department due to the public health order.

“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,” the letter said.