COLUMBUS – Yesterday, Ohio Democratic state legislators called on members of the Ohio Congressional Delegation to support and approve an increase in funding for local school systems in the next Covid-19 supplemental appropriations bill.
“Ohio is still short of pre-recession level funding for public schools when adjusted for inflation. The current crisis has all but assured that Ohio will not be able to adequately fund public education, failing 1.5 million public school students,” the members of the Ohio Senate and House Democratic Caucuses said in the letter.
The letter requests that Congress:
- Increase funding in the Education Stabilization Fund by at least $100 billion for K-12 education to local districts;
- Invest in digital infrastructure to improve virtual and remote learning access;
- Provide additional funds to the states for Title I and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act students in the 2020-21 school year, so that schools may offer summer school and after-school programs;
- Pass the Heroes Act in the U.S. Senate.
The letter follows Governor Mike DeWine’s May 5 announcement of $775 million in cuts to the state’s General Revenue spending – more than $300 million of which will be stripped from Ohio’s K-12 schools.
In the letter, the legislators highlight the potential risk of reduced services or increased class sizes that would result from funding cuts and point to areas of Ohio’s public education that could instead benefit from greater overall investment in public education, including students’ access to technology and counseling resources.
In addition to posing additional risks to teachers and students at a time when any return to in-person learning would require increased social distancing measures, these cuts would be especially detrimental to students who will need to catch up because of the challenges created by online education.
“Even before the pandemic, Ohio’s public schools were already doing their best with a limited budget,” the lawmakers said. “School districts need significant financial support from Congress to combat Ohio’s significant budget shortfall and the deleterious effect on education. Swift action and immediate investment will prevent the ruin of so many districts.”