KASB President Kimball urges Congress to provide education stimulus fundingScott Rothschild
As Congress struggles to provide a legislative response to the COVID-19 virus, KASB President Shannon Kimball is urging federal lawmakers to remember K-12 public education in its emergency deliberations. Congress has failed twice in the past roughly 48 hours to come to an agreement on how to support the economy during the pandemic.
In her letter delivered Monday, Kimball joins education leaders from across the U.S. in urging Congress to enact a wide-ranging funding package that will help school districts and communities respond to the continuing crisis. Kimball reminds the Kansas congressional delegation — Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran and Reps. Sharice Davids, Ron Estes, Roger Marshall and Steve Watkins — that Kansas school facilities are closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, but continuous education efforts will begin as early as Monday, March 30.
“As our state and our nation grapple with the COVID pandemic, KASB and our member districts envision additional challenges regarding sick leave and family leave, the need for additional flexibility, funding and guidance to serve children with disabilities, and continuing costs associated with technology and remote learning,” Kimball’s letter states. She also stresses the need for increased federal reimbursement for school meals.
In cooperation with the National School Boards Association and other education advocates, Kimball and KASB are urging Congress to enact a stimulus program similar to the 2008 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The coalition says this emergency funding should include at least $75 billion, with 50 percent of that funding provided to states through direct sub-grants and distributed within 15 days of enactment. At least $2 billion should be dedicated to the E-Rate program that supports broadband internet access, and the Federal Communications Commission should be granted additional flexibility to facilitate expanded home access for students and teachers.
“I and my colleagues across the nation urge Congress to provide the full federal measure of funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which currently provides less than 16 percent of the federal government’s promised reimbursement of the additional costs associated with educating children with disabilities. We regard the education of those students not only as a legal responsibility but also a moral one, and the additional challenges and costs associated with delivering education to disabled students when school buildings are closed must be met,” Kimball states.
Kimball also urges Congress to remove current limits on state and local tax deductions (SALT) and to make public employers (including public schools) eligible for the Payroll Tax Credit.