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Tell Congress: More Federal Action is Needed to Help Schools

Jeff Cobb

By Jeff Cobb, MASB Assistant Director of Government Relations

and

Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith, MASB Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, May 27, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Michigan’s economy has struggled significantly, leading to budget shortfalls. Recent projections have shown state revenue to be down by more than $3 billion than earlier anticipated for the current fiscal year. The School Aid Fund is down more than $1 billion for the current fiscal year and another $1 billion for 2020-2021. There is tremendous pressure on the State Legislature to make deep cuts that will lead to pressure on local and intermediate school boards.

The U.S. Congress has passed some federal funding for education-related expenses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is not nearly enough. We need Congress to work with the President to quickly pass a comprehensive stimulus package with maximum flexibility to protect our schools from devastating budget cuts.

Michigan’s Constitution requires the state to have a balanced budget and therefore cannot run a deficit. Raising state revenue does not appear to be on the table. The only foreseeable means to avoid significant cuts is if the state receives help from the federal government.

We urge you to contact your Congresspeople now and tell them schools need support and resources; not significant cuts that harm our children’s education and future. It’s important that our federal representatives understand how this virus and all that has gone along with it has affected local schools. Don’t forget to also tell them how your district, staff and community has stepped up during this pandemic to lend help, aid and support to students and their families.

MASB, in conjunction with the Michigan Education Association, American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators, and others, is hosting a virtual town hall on Friday evening, May 29, 2020. U.S. Sen. Gary Peters will start it off at 5 p.m. We will send out more details as we receive them and you can also follow the Facebook page for the event.

Finally, MASB has drafted a sample resolution for local school boards to adopt that calls on Congress to pass the needed funding to address the looming budget cuts facing our schools. Once adopted, be sure to share with your federally elected officials and let us know.

As always, if you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact us and thank you for your continued efforts and support!

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