LETTER: Congress must step up with more school funding

Stephen Herzenberg
Keystone Research Center
LOGO - education

The June 15 article “Reopening is tricky for York County schools” shows how difficult a job local school districts have ahead of them as they formulate re-opening plans for the fall.

On top of the logistical challenges presented by COVID-19, districts are also dealing with revenue shortfalls that are forcing them to put important projects on hold, enact pay freezes, leave open positions unfilled, cut technology and curriculum budgets, and furlough teachers and staff, among other cuts.

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And with reopening comes additional costs for the 2020-21 school year.

Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a budget that protects schools from state funding cuts, but that will not address the local funding shortfall.

That’s why Congress needs to step up and do its part, while in the meantime our schools work to rise to the challenge. Congress needs to provide additional money to local schools in order to help districts deal with lost revenue and increased costs in an effort to improve outcomes for students.

These are difficult and uncertain times. Especially now, it is critical that we support public school students. Congress has the power to provide a little more certainty to school districts for next school year by allocating more federal dollars to local districts.

— Stephen Herzenberg is executive director of Keystone Research Center.