Friday’s announcement of an over $6 billion pandemic-driven hole in the state budget reinforced the urgency of getting help from Congress to help maintain essential services, like public education.
Following relief for big businesses like airlines and cruise operators, it’s time for the federal government to help schools and other state-funded essentials deal with the financial impact of COVID-19. As leaders from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to State Superintendent Michael Rice have been reinforcing for a few weeks, the only way to keep major cuts from happening is intervention from Congress and the White House. Just yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) called for federal intervention while saying that school funding shouldn’t be reduced this fiscal year.
The U.S. House passed the HEROES Act on Friday, including nearly a billion dollars to help states with expenses like education. NEA is asking members across the country to contact their representatives and senators to urge at least $175 billion nationally for education –if you haven’t already, please contact them today!
Here at the state level, we need to reinforce the importance of that request with our lawmakers who are facing shortfalls of $1.2 billion in the School Aid Fund this year and another $1.1 billion next. Do your part by asking your state legislators to contact their colleagues in Congress to advocate for more federal funding and flexibility in how to spend it in support of public education.