Education Funding Essential to COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Safe Return to Schools

Bold thinking, leadership and action needed to build California’s future; no educator layoffs and no mid-year cuts

SACRAMENTO — California Teachers Association President E. Toby Boyd issued the following statement Thursday as Gov. Gavin Newsom released the state budget’s May Revision:

“Deep cuts to education will stand in the way of readying our schools for the safe return of students and further prolong the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Newsom’s leadership and commitment to safety in our public schools and colleges has been clear and much appreciated since the coronavirus surfaced in our communities 10 weeks ago.

“As educators, we are woefully familiar with the disruption and wrath of the quarantine having to quickly shift to a new way of educating our students while also caring for our own children. Educators across the state rolled up their sleeves and took the challenge head on for the sake of our students – not only teaching from their homes, but also making sure students are fed and helping to provide computers and other supports. It’s with that same fervor that we must collaborate as educators, lawmakers, parents, administrators, and community members to identify and commit to funding sources that will stop all cuts to education and make way for the resources necessary to make our schools and colleges fit for our students’ safe return.

“The safety and well-being of students, teachers, and education support professionals cannot be compromised and must be addressed prior to reopening schools. This includes deep cleaning and sanitizing of school campuses and busses, having the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), social and physical distancing in classrooms and workspaces, nurses who receive training and guidance to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, and counselors to help students deal with the trauma and uncertainty.

“We strongly appreciate the governor’s commitment to supporting public education in the current budget by allocating $4.4 billion in federal funding to support schools and colleges and address any learning loss for students. But the proposed education cuts for the 2020-21 budget will be devastating at a time when students need more support. Schools must have the resources they need to safely reopen schools and colleges in a manner that will protect students, teachers, and employees. More than $10 billion in proposed cuts will lead to cuts to vital student programs, educator layoffs, furlough days and pay cuts just like it did during the last recession when we lost 33,000 educators. Our students, our schools, our colleges, and our families cannot afford to go back.

“There is no denying that the state and country are facing a recession, and that for years California students and educators, schools and colleges have had to do more with less. There is no denying there is a significant digital divide and inequity of access to technology and resources that puts a portion of our students at risk of falling further behind. There is no denying we need bold thinking, leadership, and action throughout the coming weeks that will build California’s future rather than tear down the last six years of progress we have made on school funding. This will require a combination of solutions including federal funding provided in the HEROES Act, the Schools & Communities First initiative on the November ballot, and additional state revenues in order to prevent mid-year cuts and educator layoffs at a moment in history when our students need to heal in a safe and secure learning environment. We look forward to having many conversations with the legislature and governor to stop cuts that will have a real impact on our students.”

CTA members are asking fellow Californians to call their members of Congress at 1-855-977-1770 immediately before the House votes Friday and urge them to:

Support providing $1 trillion for state and local governments in the HEROES Act and at least $175 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund; and

Support at least $2 billion for the E-Rate program to promote internet equity.

For more information go to http://www.cta.org/covid19budgetcrisis. Or check out  http://www.cta.org/covid19 for teaching and learning resources.

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