MASB/MASA Statement: Federal Funds Needed to Sustain Michigan Public Schools as Pandemic Continues

Tina Kerr, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators and Don Wotruba, CAE, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Schools Boards sent the following letter on Dec. 1, 2020 to our representatives in the U.S. Congress:

“The Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators and the Michigan Association of School Boards represent the district leaders of Michigan’s local education agencies and intermediate school districts. Our members work every day to serve more than 1.5 million children across the state. Over the past nine months, school districts have faced numerous, unprecedented challenges related to educating Michigan’s children during a pandemic. Educators at every level of our education system have stepped up to offer safe in-person learning environments and quality distance learning opportunities for each child.

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic as state economies contracted and businesses shuttered, bipartisan efforts led to relief for Americans and various industries. Our members continue to be grateful for the initial $395 million in ESSER funds and $680 million in CRF money approved through the CARES Act and the relief provided. These hundreds of millions of dollars in Michigan prevented layoffs and ensured that districts could purchase the PPE, technology, and supplies needed for the provision of education in new and different ways for the 2019-2020 school year.

We are now firmly in the middle of the 2020-2021 school year, and another round of relief is paramount for the continued success of pandemic education. Expansion of internet services, purchasing of devices, increased sanitation and supplies, increased busing and staffing to maintain safe distances, and PPE for staff and students continue to put a strain on already tight operating budgets. Many districts have also faced additional expenses as they transition between remote and in-person learning depending on the outbreaks in their area and state requirements.

As we look to the lame duck session of the 116th U.S. Congress, we urge swift action on federal relief for schools—essential funding that will help keep more students in the classroom and all of our school communities safer.

Schools are one of the most integral sectors of any economy and federal support is imperative to ensure safe learning environments and a swift recovery from the pandemic.”