MEA President statement on latest GOP in-person learning demands for pandemic funds
MEA launches MiSchoolRelief.com to lookup federal funds pending by school district, contact lawmakers urging immediate distribution
EAST LANSING — The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Paula Herbart on the House Republican proposal in this morning’s Appropriations Committee meeting to tie further COVID relief funds to a demand for 20 hours per week of in-person learning options in school districts by Monday, May 10:
“Keeping students and school employees safe isn’t a political talking point – it must be our priority as a state when it comes to in-person learning.
“It’s appalling that, just as cases start to subside from another COVID-19 wave that sent infection rates skyrocketing among young people, the House GOP plan for spending federal pandemic relief funding for schools is tied to yet another political demand. This time, they’ve conditioned release of the funding to a requirement that schools offer at least 20 hours per week of in-person learning – beginning in just 12 days.
“Last summer, the Legislature passed a law making it a local decision about how to safely educate Michigan students. Many districts, working with their employees, have found safe ways to do that in-person with implementation of various virus mitigation measures. Others made the difficult choice not to because safety was, in fact, their top priority.
“Now, after pulling a similar stunt in March, Republican lawmakers are holding game-changing federal funding hostage because they don’t like the local choices that have been made – and giving districts 12 days to change course with the school year winding down. They’re adding requirements to desperately needed taxpayer money that was approved by both President Trump and President Biden without these conditions.
“As we head into Teacher Appreciation Week, it’s no wonder that many educators feel underappreciated and are leaving the profession – because some lawmakers at the State Capitol refuse to respect local control and educator expertise. Educators, parents and community members across Michigan need to deliver a clear message – stop these political games and distribute federal relief funds for schools and students NOW.”
MEA has launched www.MiSchoolRelief.com, which allows the public to view how much federal aid for their school district is being held up in the State Legislature by political games like today’s – and contact their lawmakers to express the opinion of constituents that this funding needs to be released right away for local control and for the safety of our students and educators.