Call to action for stimulus bill to stabilize school fundingScott Rothschild
School board members and other education leaders should contact U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran to urge them to support a fourth federal stimulus bill to stabilize school funding.
Click here for a sample text and contact information. Advocates may call, email, or post on the Senators’ social media accounts.
Before the pandemic struck, education and other social services were beginning to recover from years of state revenue shortfalls and the state’s economic outlook was improving.
But as a result of the state and national shutdown in response to the coronavirus, economic experts project that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will cause Kansas to have a $650 million budget deficit next year. Gov.Laura Kelly has said the state will see “devastating” cuts unless the federal government steps in. The CARES Act funding passed by Congress in March can’t be used to fill state revenue gaps.
The budget shortfall could threaten school district budgets and the implementation of the Gannon school finance case because 52 percent of the state general fund goes to K-12 state aid. Most school funding goes to people, so cuts would increase unemployment and exacerbate the state’s economic downturn.
Higher education, foster care, prisons, and law enforcement could also suffer painful cuts.
The National School Boards Association, KASB, the State Board of Education, USA-Kansas and other education advocacy groups supported education stabilization funding in an April 15 letter to the Kansas Congressional delegation:
“Building off the education stabilization fund included in the CARES Act, we request the fourth emergency COVID response supplemental include an investment of at least $175 billion for K-12 education at the state level to bolster state budgets, offer a short-term boost to the economy, and to invest in education and other public services,” the groups said.
“The scale and impact of the COVID pandemic emerged quickly and the full impact on our country is still unclear. We are proud to report, however, that Kansas public schools are leading the nation in responding to the needs of our K-12 public education students. The individual district Continuous Learning Plans developed at the direction of our State Board of Education are being held up as examples of how our colleagues in other states can best serve their students. Nonetheless, our challenges remain profound and far-reaching and cannot be vanquished without the additional, robust measures we request here.”