Advocacy Update: Congress Passes Stimulus Package
December 22, 2020
Late Monday evening, December 21, Congress passed a new $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill, along with the 2020-21 budget and appropriations. NYSSBA is pleased that agreement has been reached on a new federal stimulus package; however we are aware that $900 billion is insufficient to prevent major cuts to states and localities, including school districts.
The package includes:
- $82 billion dollars in education funding
- $54 billion dedicated to K-12 public schools
- $22.7 billion for higher education
- $4.05 billion for the Governor Emergency Relief Fund which includes a set-aside for private K-12 schools
- $250 million for Head Start
It is notable that this amount of dedicated funding for K-12 schools is about 4 times as much as was allocated in the CARES Act (which resulted in approximately $1 billion for New York State). There is also $10 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program.
Unfortunately, not included in this latest stimulus agreement is additional aid to state and localities, liability protections, and increased investment in the E-rate program. Without federal aid to help close New York State's budget gaps, looming cuts may still threaten our school districts. NYSSBA will continue to advocate for future stimulus packages to include large investments in state and local aid, greater funding for public K-12 schools, and an expansion of the E-rate program to assist school districts in addressing the digital divide.
We will note that while additional E-rate funding was not agreed upon in this latest stimulus package, it did contain additional investments in broadband expansion, including $3.2 billion in emergency funds for low-income families to access broadband through "an FCC fund", a new $1 billion tribal broadband fund and $65 million to complete broadband maps pursuant to the Broadband DATA Act approved earlier this year.
NYSSBA has put pressure on New York's Congressional Delegation to reach agreement on a new stimulus package for months, and we will continue to push until the state and our schools are in a more comfortable financial situation. Just this past Friday, we reached out to every Congressional office highlighting our priorities as negotiations intensified. Following the national elections last month, NYSSBA sent a letter to the state's congressional delegation urging them to take immediate action on the stimulus package and not wait until the presidential inauguration in January.
We would also like to thank you, our members. We called on you to take action and you did. Our grassroots advocacy efforts resulted in nearly 10,000 letters sent to members of Congress around the state urging them to take immediate action on a new stimulus deal. Stay tuned for more ways to stay involved.
NYSSBA's Governmental Relations team will continue to report on these and other issues. For more information, visit our Key Issues Page.
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