Tell your Congressional representatives to support additional federal funding for school districts

The COVID-19 school closures have laid bare the gross disparities in resources available to public school students in Pennsylvania. And now Pennsylvania's school districts are bracing for a profound loss of local and state revenue because of the economic downturn.

Additional federal funding is needed to help school districts avoid mass layoffs and severe cuts in programs and services that will harm students.

Pennsylvania school districts anticipate losing $850 million to $1 billion in local revenues in 2020-2021 as a result of the COVID-19 economic downturn. At the state level, the deficit could be $5 billion or more in 2020-2021, so the state will struggle to keep up its funding for schools.

The $13.5 billion that was allocated in the initial COVID-19 emergency response package to schools nationwide ($524 million to Pennsylvania's schools) is appreciated. However, these funds are just a fraction of the $79 billion that the federal government provided to schools in 2009 during the Great Recession and not enough to replace the funding schools anticipate losing in local revenues in the upcoming school year.

By every indication, this economic downturn will be much deeper than in 2009. Without more federal relief, mass layoffs and deep cuts in programs and services in public schools will be inevitable.

Please urge your representatives in Congress to support substantial flexible funding for school districts in the next phase of emergency COVID-19 response legislation.

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Harrisburg, PA