Supporting Schools through the pandemic

From State Senator Jean Leising
There are a number of unprecedented topics for the General Assembly to tackle this legislative session in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but one of the biggest is funding K-12 education.

Under current law, public schools receive 85% of the per-student state funding for any student who gets at least half of their education virtually. Given the current circumstances, this would not be fair to the teachers, students and administrators in our education system who had to transition from in-class to remote learning.

To address this, I am supporting Senate Bill 2, which would provide 100% of the state’s per-student funding for students at brick-and-mortar public schools who have gone to virtual instruction for part or all of the 2020-2021 academic year, so long as those students weren’t already learning virtually prior to COVID-19.

While I support SB 2, I approached the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and encouraged him, where available, to allocate additional funding to support schools who developed necessary protocols that kept students in the classroom throughout the pandemic. This request was made in a good-faith effort to reward schools who went above and beyond to meet the learning needs of their students, while also safeguarding their health. 

I believe this one-year fix is an important step in supporting our schools as they navigate the ever-changing circumstances of the pandemic.

This week, SB 2 bill passed out of the Senate with bipartisan support and will now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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