Letter to the Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, the Hon. Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader, the Hon. Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader, and the Hon. Charles Schumer, Minority Leader - Tlaib, Hayes, and Pressley Lead 100-Plus Members of Congress in Historic $305 Billion Funding Push for K-12 Schools
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader McCarthy, and Minority
We write to strongly urge you to include at least $305 billion in K-12 education stabilization
funding as you negotiate coronavirus response legislation. Given the decreases in state revenues
that support education funding and the new expenses facing schools in adapting to the new
learning environment, state education budgets across the U.S. will struggle to meet the long-term
demands of providing high-quality learning to all their students. While we strongly support the
$90 billion in education funding included in H.R. 6800, The Heroes Act, about $58 billion of that
funding will support K-12 education. Comparatively, current projections by Center on Budget
and Policy Priorities on state revenue shortfalls1 coupled with necessary new education
results in a need of of $305 billion. We urge you to prioritize our students, educators,
and school districts, and ensure they are not left behind as you negotiate the next relief package.
States are experiencing, and will continue to experience, increased health care and
unemployment-related costs that will put further pressure on state education funding.
Furthermore, states face additional increased education costs including ensuring that all students
have full access to distance learning, providing expanded learning opportunities to address any
interruptions in learning, and the school meals needed for these additional days of school.
Without federal support, the fallout from state budgets will have drastic consequences for
education, particularly students' access to teachers. A 25% reduction in state education funding
will result in the elimination of more than 580,000 education positions.
3 This is more than 15%
of the nation's educator workforce.
This pandemic is causing significant declines in state income and sales tax and other revenues
that substantially fund our nation's public schools. Current projections by the Center on Budget
and Policy Priorities (CBPP) show state revenue shortfalls could ultimately reach about 10% in
the current fiscal year (FY) and as much as 25% in FY21, which translates to state education
funding shortfall of $305 billion.
The projected cuts to public education spending due to our current crisis are two and half times
worse than the Great Recession's impact on our public education.
5 This is particularly
concerning because even with substantial federal intervention through the American Recovery
and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and a subsequent Educator Job Fund bill, states took at least 6
years (from 2008 to 2014) to recover the ground they lost in education funding, with some never
catching up to pre-recession levels.
6 Without significant federal support, our states will struggle
to support their public schools, and our students will feel the brunt of the result.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on K-12 education is being felt by schools across
America as they continue to hold remote learning sessions, provide meals to students, and come
up with curriculum to educate special needs students. As states work to set their FY21 budgets
and continue to provide a high-quality education to our students, federal support is critical to
stabilize their K-12 educations system over the next 18 months. Therefore, we urge that as you
negotiate coronavirus response legislation, you allocate at least $305 billion to a State Fiscal
Stabilization Fund for grants to States to support statewide and local funding specifically for our
K-12 public schools. Our children's education is too important to risk.