The recent article, “Pottsgrove rolls out two-pronged reopening plan,” shows how difficult a job local school districts have ahead of them as they prepare to carry out re-opening plans for the fall. None of this is easy — not for administrators, not for teachers and staff, and not for parents and students.
School districts are also dealing with revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19 that have forced them to put important projects on hold, leave open positions unfilled, and cut technology and curriculum budgets, among other cuts. Because of necessary safety precautions like those being taken in Pottsgrove, reopening comes with additional costs for the 2020-21 school year.
This summer, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a budget that protects schools from state funding cuts, but that will not address massive local funding shortfalls over the next year. That’s why Congress needs to step up and do its part, while in the meantime our schools work to rise to the challenge. Congress has the power to provide a little more certainty to school districts for next school year by allocating more federal dollars to local districts. The U.S. Senate should follow the lead of the U.S. House by passing another round of COVID-19 relief funding that includes needed aid for state and local governments and public schools.