|OUSD press release|
Oakland, CA — On Tuesday, April 28, Oakland Unified School District joined 61 other urban school districts across the country in calling for Congress to allocate more money to education during this time of crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic. The collection of districts, which includes Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh and Seattle, all signed on to a letter from the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS), to which they all belong.
The letter, which went to the leaders of the House of Representatives and the United States Senate, calls for “an additional federal allocation of $175 billion in Educational Stabilization Funds distributed to the local level through the Title I formula. We also urge Congress to provide an additional $13 billion for IDEA, $12 billion in additional Title I program funding, $2.0 billion for E-Rate, and emergency infrastructure funds that include public schools.”
The explanation for the request is a stark warning of what could be coming in education across the country because of the pandemic. It says, “dark clouds are forming on the educational horizon that will spell disaster if Congress does not intervene. Significant revenue shortfalls are looming for local school districts that will exacerbate the disruption students have already faced. Some 40 to 50 percent of school district revenues, in fact, come from local sources that are expected to drop precipitously in the months ahead. This revenue decline will come on top of revenue losses in the months to come from state sources that have been more widely reported. Several big city school districts are now projecting 15 to 25 percent cuts in overall revenues going into next school year.”
These challenges could arise for OUSD after several years of significant budget reductions including more than $20 million in cuts last month. Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell was among the leaders who signed the letter. “There has rarely been a time when schools needed so much support from the federal government,” she said. “But if we want to keep our education system intact, fully functioning and preparing all of our students to lead us into the future, we need more from the government. This is about ensuring that all school districts can avoid making draconian cuts to their budgets which will hurt our children for years to come. In order to continue providing even the most basic level of service to our students and families, we need a huge infusion of funding that will help head off the impacts of the financial downturn for schools that’s just around the corner. I implore our federal leaders to send us this much-needed money, to ensure that our students can fully access a healthy and robust education system once we move beyond this pandemic.”
OUSD Board of Education President Jody London also supports the CGCS effort to secure more funding from the government. “America’s public schools are on the front line responding to COVID-19, as we are in most crises. Our students and families need and deserve more support from the federal government. We urge the government to implement a recovery strategy that invests in the future, including helping our schools be more resilient in the face of a changing climate. With a combined cut in state and local funding for urban school districts that could reach 25 percent because of this pandemic, we need action from the federal government immediately. This is about giving all children the support they need, but more broadly, it’s about ensuring that our economy will have a well-educated workforce, that was unencumbered by a severely diminished education system that a debilitating cut in funding would precipitate.”
To see the letter to Congress from the Council of the Great City Schools, click here.
###About the Oakland Unified School DistrictIn California’s most diverse city, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where “Every Student Thrives!” More than half of our students speak a non-English language at home. And each of our 83 schools is staffed with talented individuals uniting around a common set of values: Students First, Equity, Excellence, Integrity, Cultural Responsiveness and Joy. We are committed to preparing all students for college, career and community success.
To learn more about OUSD’s Full Service Community District focused on academic achievement while serving the whole child in safe schools, please visit OUSD.org and follow us @OUSDnews.
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