Porter urges consideration of Indiana schools before CARES Act money is returned on Dec. 30 deadline

IBLC, News & Media

INDIANAPOLIS – Following multiple calls-to-action before a Dec. 30 deadline, State Representative Gregory W. Porter (D-Indianapolis) again requested that the Holcomb administration take immediate action in disbursing critical Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars to K-12 schools.

Not unlike many Hoosier businesses and households, schools are starting to feel the adverse economic impacts of COVID-19, as the state sits on nearly $1 billion in stimulus yet to be designated for allocation.

Schools received an initial lump sum from Congress for immediate needs like personal protective equipment (PPE) and technology updates for remote learning; however, Indiana has provided no additional funding to sustain the new normal created by the persisting pandemic.

“Our K-12 public schools are accustomed to running on a tight budget thanks to policies of the Republican supermajority,” Porter said.

“However, it is shameful that the state has not extended a helping hand as schools and students mitigate the harmful health and economic impacts of COVID-19. This lack of additional funding to address COVID-19's impact on our schools only aggravates further the current reality of the widening opportunity and achievement gap which will ultimately lead to long-term learning loss.

“Whether choosing to continue instruction in-person or online, schools have been met with unexpected budgetary costs to protect our children and foster the best education possible. The Holcomb administration must do the right thing and provide additional funding to our schools.”  

Other states like Massachusetts have recognized these unmet needs. Massachusetts gave schools the allocated funding provided by the CARES Act, and used additional state stimulus dollars to provide a $221 supplement per student.

Porter believes enacting a similar policy with remaining CARES Act money could ensure financial and academic well-being for Hoosier schools and students.

“It is important to remember that CARES Act money is the people's money,” Porter said.

“If left unspent, the Holcomb administration will be choosing to return taxpayer-funded relief to Washington D.C. while our state suffers.”

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