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Engel leads Bipartisan New York Members Calling for Increased Education Funding for New York

Engel leads Bipartisan New York Members Calling for Increased Education Funding for New York

Congressman Eliot L. Engel led a New York delegation letter to House Leadership calling for increased education funding for New York State’s public schools. New York has been the epicenter of the American COVID-19 outbreak and the situation has left its public schools in dire straits. The Engel-led letter calls for robust education funding in the next major piece of COVID-19 legislation, on top of what has been provided in the CARES Act.

New York has already received over $2 billion in education funding through the CARES Act. However, there is a significant budget shortfall that still must be filled to help prevent teacher layoffs and program reductions. The Engel letter calls for the federal government to provide robust financial support in the next funding package to prevent layoffs, support remote learning, fund school meals, summer school sessions, childcare reimbursement for schools, professional development for teachers, and help procure more personal protective equipment (PPE).

“The COVID-19 outbreak has upended New York state’s education system. Our teachers and educators are doing amazing work right now helping to keep our students up to speed from home. They deserve our thanks but perhaps more importantly, our support,” Engel said. “I was proud to help provide New York state with over $2 billion in CARES Act education funding, but more work needs to be done. As a former educator, I know how critical our State’s public education system is, and an education shortfall will have lasting impacts long after we move past this public health crisis. Significant federal funding will be needed to prevent teacher layoffs, including guidance counselors and social workers, and support programming like AP classes and educational field trips. While we work right now to weather this public health crisis, we must also look forward to prevent an education crisis.”

"New York's school community- from teachers to administrators to support staff - have stepped up during this most difficult time to continue to educate millions of New York's children, yet they face severe cuts if additional funding is not provided in the next stimulus bill. Our NY schools need direct relief to avoid layoffs and program reductions, and to help meet the additional costs we will face when students return to school. We are deeply grateful to Congressman Engel for his leadership on behalf of our public schools, their students and parents, and thank the bipartisan group of New York Congressmembers who have joined this effort. Your unified effort on behalf of our schools and children is needed and deeply appreciated," said State Senator Shelley Mayer (37th SD),  Chair of the Senate Education Committee.

“This crisis has shown that public schools are so much more than centers of learning — they are cornerstones of our communities, feeding our students, helping their families deal with economic and social needs, and supporting our entire communities,” New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta said. “Cuts to public education would devastate schools that already had growing lists of needs before the floor dropped out from the economy. Direct federal aid for schools is one critical piece of stopping these cuts. Now is the time to invest in our schools, not deny them the resources they need to provide for communities statewide.”

“Our teachers, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and custodial staff kept this country’s students engaged, safe and fed during this pandemic, and they will need help from the federal government to make sure their schools remain open and their jobs still exist. With state and local budgets decimated, we cannot forfeit our kids’ futures and put our public schools on the chopping block: we need dedicated money to protect them now, the way they protected our students during the worst crisis in modern history,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers.

 

A copy of the letter can be found below:

 

April 20, 2020

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                                      The Honorable Kevin McCarthy

Speaker of the House                                                  Minority Leader

United States House of Representatives                     United States House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515                                            Washington, D.C. 20515

 

The Honorable Nita Lowey                                        The Honorable Kay Granger

Chairwoman Appropriations Committee                   Ranking Member Appropriations Committee

United States House of Representatives                     United States House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515                                            Washington, D.C. 20515

 

The Honorable Robert C. “Bobby” Scott                   The Honorable Virginia Foxx

Chairman Education and Labor Committee               Ranking Member Education and Labor Committee

United States House of Representatives                     United States House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515                                            Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, Chairwoman Lowey, Ranking Member Granger, Chairman Scott and Ranking Member Foxx,

 

New York State remains the epicenter of our nation’s COVID-19 crisis, with the most positive cases, and sadly, the most loss of life in the country. The situation in New York is critical, and we are on the forefront of this crisis and need additional assistance.

We want to commend you on your work to ensure the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economy Security Act (CARES) Act would provide relief to our health care system, put money directly into the hands of Americans, offer significant support to our small businesses, and importantly, deliver helpful education assistance to New York State. The assistance in the CARES Act helps fill in a portion of New York’s education budget gap. However, there is still significant help our state, and constituents, need to prevent widespread education funding cuts. That is why we ask you to include strong levels of funding directly to school districts through the Education Stabilization Fund to ensure our public education system cannot only weather, but also bounce back from, this public health crisis.

New York State schools have been closed as of March 16th statewide, but some schools have been closed as early as March 9th due to the COVID outbreak. This has left our state’s more than 200,000 teachers having to remote teach millions of students. The $2 billion allocated for New York State of the overall $30.75 billion through the CARES Act is a helpful starting point to assist our education system. These funds will be used to help New York purchase education technology and broadband to assist students learn at home. But with an unknown timeline for this public health crisis, more financial resources will be required for our educators.

That is why we are asking for robust education funds to be allocated in the fourth coronavirus package. Additional funding will prevent education layoffs, cuts in education services, such as AP classes, guidance counselors and social workers. We would also ask that these funds can be used for remote learning, school meals, summer school sessions, childcare reimbursement for schools that have had to pay for these costs, professional development for teachers and procuring personal protective equipment (PPEs). Ensuring additional education funding is crucial to maintaining New York State’s education system, and to avoid a slower education recovery. As we have been hardest hit by COVID-19, we ask that New York receive significant support in the next funding package to not only be made whole, but also to avoid layoffs, maintain our education programs and help close the glaring education gap.

We again want to thank you for the tremendous work in passing three critical funding packages to combat this public health emergency. We look forward to working with you on the fourth coronavirus funding package to stop this virus and set our nation on a strong recovery.

 

Sincerely,

 

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New York State Delegation Education Funding Request for COVID-19 4th Package (04/21/2003:29 PMET )