Dear Appropriations Committee Member, On behalf of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of over 80 national education associations and institutions from preschool to postgraduate education, we write in strong support of two critical education provisions in the Fiscal Year 2010 emergency supplemental appropriations bill; a $23 billion education jobs fund to help struggling schools prevent significant numbers of layoffs and harmful education program cuts and $5.7 billion to pay off the Pell grant funding shortfall, which will ensure that over 8 million college students do not have their grants reduced.
States, school districts and colleges face a serious fiscal crisis. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) education funds have saved over 300,000 education jobs and prevented massive layoffs and education cuts. However, the loss of ARRA education funds will result in substantial cuts and layoffs at all levels of education.
In addition, due to unprecedented and growing state budget gaps, schools and colleges are facing additional deep cuts in state aid. A survey by the American Association of School Administrators found that 275,000 teachers and other education employees face layoffs in the upcoming school year. Education Secretary Duncan has called this a “catastrophe unfolding across the country… If we do not help avert this state and local budget crisis, we could impede reform and fail another generation of children.”
The $23 billion education jobs fund will not only prevent layoffs of teachers, instructional support personnel and other school staff, but will also help the economy in the short-term. Investments in education also pay off over the long-term by reducing unemployment and increasing family income.
CEF strongly supports the $23 billion education jobs fund. As the bill moves forward consideration should be given to providing eligibility for funds to public higher education institutions as in both the current State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and the House-passed Jobs for Mainstreet Act. Saving 300,000 education jobs and preserving critically important education programs is not a bailout but a buy-in for the future of our children and our nation. We look forward to working with Chairman Obey and the Committee to enact these vital education investments.