Schumer pushes for school spending in next relief package

Senator visits Attica Schools where masks alone may cost $145,000

Mike Baggerman
July 15, 2020 - 12:16 pm

    ATTICA, N.Y. (WBEN) – There is hope that billions in federal funds will be appropriated to help schools once they reopen.

    Schools in New York State are creating a reopening plan in hopes of beginning in-person instruction this September but must grapple with the reality that they face up to a 20 percent reduction in state funds and will be spending thousands of dollars for masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, and other items that mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

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    At Attica Central Schools in Wyoming County, they believe they will need to buy 1,500 masks per day for their 1,200 students and 250 employees. For masks alone, that cost will be around $145,000.

    A district like this must also brace for the possibility of there being no in-person instruction. However, the rural location of the district will mean remote learning will be difficult, too. That’s why Senator Chuck Schumer introduced a bill that he is pushing to be part of the next stimulus package called Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act.

    “CCCERA would provide $175 billion nationally to K-through-12 schools and an additional $4 billion for laptops, tablets, hotspots, and broadband,” Schumer said. “As for the valleys and places where they can’t get broadband, we do have a proposal but it will have to wait a bit, that every home should have broadband and the federal government should provide it.”

    Attica, specifically, would receive $2.1 million in the bill. Schools in Erie County would get hundreds of millions of dollars for its districts and surrounding counties. Wyoming County schools would receive $21 million. Genesee, Livingston, and Ontario counties would receive an additional $50 million.

    Congress will reconvene next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the next stimulus package will be largely focused on providing legal protections for organizations such as schools and businesses.

    “This is not a partisan issue,” Schumer said. “Leader McConnell has not said he’d be for this yet. My guess is that if he puts this on the floor, I guarantee it will pass.”

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