State GOP leaders propose $1.3B schools bailout

State House and Senate leaders say federal money could be used to fill school districts' budget holes.

Republican state lawmakers unveiled a plan Tuesday that would use $1.3 billion in federal money to shore up funding for the state’s K-12 schools.

The funding comes from the CARES Act, passed by Congress in March to help states struggling with costs related to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The state’s schools budget faces a $1.2 billion shortfall for the school year that just ended due to reduced tax revenue caused by the pandemic and related shutdown.

The budget is expected to be short another $1.1 billion next school year and face another $1 billion in costs related to developing remote learning, according to an article in Bridge Magazine.

The proposal from state lawmakers would do several things:

  • Give $800 per pupil to districts to develop remote learning plans and classroom health and safety measures
  • Give teachers a one-time $500 payment as a sort of hazard and overtime pay
  • Give $80 million to intermediate school districts, such as KRESA, to help develop and implement remote learning and safety measures
  • Cut the state’s “seat time” rules that set the minimum amount of time students need to be in the classroom
  • Require students in kindergarten through fifth grade to attend classes in-person
  • Decrease snow days from five to two days per year with the assumption that students will be able to attend class remotely when in-person classes are cancelled

You can read the full story here.

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