Covid-19 Education Funding
2020 was a year full of challenges that tested Missourians in ways we have never experienced. Life was put on hold for several months, we lost Missourians to the virus, our medical community worked around the clock, and many livelihoods were lost when small businesses who couldn’t stay afloat were forced to close their doors. Thankfully, life in our state is going back to normal for most of us with businesses reopening and the vaccine becoming increasingly available. But there is one group of Missourians who could potentially feel the effects of the pandemic for years to come: our children.
The CDC estimates the average cost to return safely to school is approximately $442 per student nationwide. But the COVID-19 relief funding formula used by the federal government prioritizes some school districts while overlooking others. Here in Missouri, Blair Oaks only gets $77.47 per child, while Kansas City receives nearly $2,000 per child. Wentzville only receives $163.17 per child while St. Louis City gets almost $2,200. This disparity taking place throughout the nation completely ignores the science and falls far short of fair. To fix this problem, I introduced an amendment to the last COVID-19 relief package that would equally distribute funds based on the number of students in a school district and ensure all schools have the necessary funds to safely return to in-person learning. Unfortunately, Democrats did not allow my amendment to receive a vote on the House Floor.
While the bill was passed with that formula, there is still time to create fairness for our students. The funding will be disbursed in portions until 2022. I have introduced the Protecting Every Student Act which, like the amendment, would allocate funding in a much fairer way by using a per pupil basis, allowing all school districts to receive the appropriate funding. It is unacceptable that our children struggle with lockdowns that have derailed their educational and social development only to have their health politicized. When it comes to health and safety, every student regardless of location, wealth, or political precinct should be treated fairly by our government.
CONTACT US: As always, for those of you with Internet access, I encourage you to visit my official website. For those without access to the Internet, I encourage you to call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Wentzville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit my YouTube site, Facebook page, and keep up-to-date with Twitter and Instagram.