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Senator Murray secures over $40 billion in year-end spending deal, and $54.3 billion in COVID emergency funding for public schools 

Senator Murray stopped Republican efforts to advance their harmful privatization agenda 

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, praised the $500 million in increased investments in the nation’s public schools, totaling over $40 billion, in the must-pass year-end spending bill. Of the $40 billion, $16.5 billion is for Title I-A grants to local educational agencies to assist nearly sixty percent of the nation’s schools in their efforts to raise student achievement. These funds help provide extra academic support to help students, particularly those in high-poverty schools, meet college and career-ready state academic standards, including through preschool programs for eligible children. The agreement also includes an increase of $181 million—$13.8 billion in all—for special education state grant programs.  The bill also includes increases for a range of other important programs, including $52 million more for Career and Technical Education state grants, $10 million more for English Language Acquisition State grants, and $5 million more for Education for Homeless Children and Youth.

Additionally, the COVID relief bill included $54.3 billion in emergency relief for an Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. In addition to all of the uses of funds authorized under the CARES Act, this funding can also be used to address learning loss and school facilities improvements necessary for health measures. States will also need to report how they are using funds, including how they are using funds to address the full scope of learning loss due to COVID.  Additionally, Senator Murray stopped Republican efforts to advance their school privatization agenda and create private school vouchers, by instead providing states with funding to provide services to private school students related to public health protocols, education technology, and learning loss.

While the funding for public schools is a step in the right direction, Senator Murray will continue to fight for the over $175 billion in funding needed to support our K-12 public schools that she called for in her Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA).

“Students, parents, and educators nationwide have been thrown into a kind of uncertainty and chaos we’ve simply never seen before. That’s why we need to give schools the resources they need to keep their campuses safe during this pandemic and to keep students learning, whether in-person or online. This funding is a step in the right direction, but I will keep pushing for my plan to provide public schools with the over $175 billion that they need to ensure every single student can recover from this crisis.

“But it’s clear getting through this crisis and getting ‘back to normal’ isn’t enough. This pandemic has highlighted the existing inequities and systemic racism students across this country deal with every day—inequities that have left too many students behind, including students of color, students with disabilities, English learners, and students from families with low-incomes. Our goal should be to make sure every student can attend a high quality public school, and that every student—no matter their race, socio-economic status, disability, or where they live—has the support they need to receive a high quality education.”

In June, Senator Murray introduced the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA), a $430 billion dollar bill to address the national child care and education crises and provide relief to students, families, schools, and educators across the country during this pandemic. The legislation included $175 billion for K-12 schools, to help schools address learning loss, implement public health protocols, and provide quality education to all students—whether they open in-person, remotely, or a hybrid of both.

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