LETTER: To reopen schools safely, Pa. needs Congress' help

Rich Askey
Pennsylvania State Education Association
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Pennsylvania educators and administrators are putting plans in place to reopen our schools to students in the new school year. We still have a lot of work to do, but one thing is clear: Our schools will need federal help to reopen safely.

That is why the Pennsylvania State Education Association is urging Congress to provide $175 billion in emergency federal education funding.

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The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused state and local tax revenues to plummet. Despite facing its own deficit, the state maintained school funding next year without cuts. Emergency federal funding is our only hope to bridge revenue shortfalls at the local level. Otherwise, schools will have to make deep cuts that could cost up to 40,000 jobs in education across Pennsylvania.

For schools to reopen safely, we need educators, counselors, nurses, custodians and many other school staffers to keep the physical spaces in our schools free from illness and to meet the needs of students.

I urge our U.S. senators and representatives to provide the additional funding our schools will need to make that happen.