WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Trump administration announced that it might cut federal funding for K-12 schools nationwide that refuse to reopen amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, millions from Trump’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) went to support private and charter schools, many of which have not lost their major funding streams during the crisis. 

The move is another hit by the administration to people of color and those working to make ends meet. The majority of federal funding for K-12 schools currently flows to low-income students and schools — many of whom and of which are in communities already facing disproportionate health and economic fallout as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Asking schools to choose between heeding the advice of public health officials and accessing desperately needed federal funds is deeply callous and unfair,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. The administration’s move plainly targets the schools in low-income communities that were forced to stretch their resources paper-thin even before this crisis. Letting taxpayer dollars flow to elite schools through the Paycheck Protection Program while threatening funds for schools whose students and staff are already at heightened risk is just another clear indication of the Trump administration’s priorities: helping the wealthy as everyday Americans get left behind.”

Education Secretary Betsey DeVos has already tried to use the COVID-19 crisis to help out private and religious schools, attempting to divert CARES Act funding to them from the public schools they are intended to serve. States are currently suing the administration on the grounds that this use of funds meant largely for underserved communities is unlawful.

At a Senate Education Committee hearing just one month ago, education leaders begged lawmakers for a cash infusion, citing lofty new costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), personnel, and operational changes needed to ensure that students and staff remain safe if schools do reopen.

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