In late March, Congress took a critical step with the passage of the CARES Act, a $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package. Included in this legislation is a $3 billion fund for education—the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund—which provides funding for each state. (Illinois should receive more than $108M of this fund.) The GEER Fund is designed to give governors flexibility to support education systems in their state in responding to the coronavirus. Funds can be distributed to both K-12 and higher education systems.
In the coming days, states will receive their GEER funds. As governors decide how to distribute these emergency funds, principals can make their voice heard and push for K-12 education to be prioritized. Principals are uniquely positioned to highlight why schools need additional support for remote learning, for providing student meals during the crisis, and for staving off layoffs of teachers and other school staff. With a looming economic downturn, which will likely result in declines in state and local aid for school districts, these needs will only grow.
The principal voice matters now more than ever. Governors need to hear from principals why a bold and urgent response to support K-12 schools during this crisis is needed.
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