FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement From Interim Commissioner Betty A. Rosa, Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown and the Board of Regents Advocating for Continued Federal Funding for Education, States and Local Governments
The immense fiscal and emotional costs of the COVID-19 pandemic are like nothing our school communities have ever confronted. As a result, schools here in New York, Puerto Rico and across the nation, urgently need additional resources as we recover, rebuild, and renew the spirit of our schools. While we are grateful for the first round of CARES Act funding, it’s critical that continued and additional federal assistance is dispersed and that it is done with alacrity and good faith.
New York State administrators, teachers, school board members and other staff, as well as parents, have made heroic efforts to continue to provide high-quality, safe learning opportunities to our 2.6 million students, but we cannot avoid devastating cuts to our schools and the disastrous impact these cuts would have on our children without a second phase of federal funding immediately. States and local governments are in desperate need of federal support, without which schools in New York could face a 20 percent cut in state aid. Such a large cut is untenable and would have long-term negative consequences for our children with the biggest impact on our Black and Latino families, children and low-income communities.
New York State, and in particular New York City, has been one of the epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Simply put, we cannot hope to move on safely and appropriately from this catastrophe without continued and additional federal funding. Districts and schools are now putting their reopening procedures into action, planning for instruction through in-person, remote or a combination of both next month.
The health crisis of COVID-19 has shined an even brighter spotlight on the crisis of the digital divide – the lack of equitable access that disproportionately affects low income, minority and rural populations both nationally and within New York. We cannot begin to bridge this divide and address the critical safety, educational and emotional concerns that COVID-19 has exacerbated without a second infusion of critical federal assistance. Congress must act now for the sake of our nation’s children.
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