Rep. Susan Davis Calls on Trump Administration and Senate to Fully Fund Our Schools During Pandemic

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San Diego, September 3, 2020 | comments

Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53), a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee, called for full funding for schools as students start the new school year. Davis held a press conference with Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52), Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51), Superintendent Cindy Marten, School Board Vice President Richard Barrera, Student Board Member Zachary Patterson, SDEA President Kisha Borden, San Diego Unified Council PTA President Mahogany Taylor, and San Diego High Principal Franny Del Carmen-Aguilar at San Diego High School.

Congressional Democrats are calling for $300 billion for schools to address the unique needs schools are facing to educate students during the pandemic. 

“State and local governments are facing unprecedented budget shortfalls, to the tune of nearly $500 billion, which inevitably leads to deep cuts in education budgets,” said Rep. Davis, who also serves on the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee. “It’s not just our children and their families that we want to protect, it is also the 1.5 million teachers in this country who are considered a higher risk for a severe reaction to the coronavirus. The Administration and the Senate must join with Democrats to help our schools.”

Absent a federal response, unprecedented state and local budget shortfalls will lead to mass teacher layoffs and deep cuts to education services. Given that public K-12 and higher education funding constituted roughly 37 percent of state budgets and 20 percent of local budgets, these shortfalls – left unaddressed – will inevitably lead to mass teacher layoffs and painful cuts to education services. 

In fact, 900,000 public school employees had already lost their jobs, and the American Federation of Teachers issued a report projecting over 1.4 million public school employee layoffs without federal action. 

The pandemic is also worsening the inequities in our education system, putting students of color at risk of long-lasting or even permanent setbacks. While white students are expected to lose six months of learning due to the pandemic, Latino students are expected to lose nine months and Black students are expected to lose 10 months.

House Democrats passed the Heroes Act more than 100 days ago to provide schools the resources they need to cope with this crisis while President Trump, Secretary DeVos, and Republicans in Congress continue to threaten to strip funding from schools that cannot reopen safely. 

The crisis has worsened since the passage of the Heroes Act. The amount of funding needed to reopen schools safely has grown to $300 billion. This funding would stabilize the public education system and help state education agencies and school districts maintain current services, including preventing layoffs, larger class sizes, and cuts to academic programs and mental health services.

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