The Public School System is expecting another $23 million or more once the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate agree on a second relief package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a special board meeting last week, Tim Thornburgh, PSS Federal Programs manager, reported that PSS can expect equal or more than what they previously received from the U.S. Department of Education under the Education Stabilization fund from the CARES Act.
“Essentially there’s going to be a second education fund program and we’re looking forward to that. It’s going to be a second educational stabilization fund and it would not surprise me if it would be equal or even greater than the amount of our current education stabilization fund,” he said.
In the Senate’s version of the relief bill, USDOE can expect around $70 billion for K-12 education and $30 billion for post-secondary education.
“Basically the senators would provide $70 billion for K-12 education and another $30 billion for post-secondary education, and then $5 billion at the governor’s discretion to support. That looks very promising. We’ll be following this very carefully,” Thornburgh said.
Thornburgh said as of the timeline, the U.S. Senate would like to pass their version of the relief bill in the next few weeks.
“I know the Senate would like to get this passed in the next couple of weeks and we already have staff from the house and senate trying to reconcile the two bills. One is $3 trillion and the other will be at $1 trillion, there will be some give and take,” he said.
However, before PSS can receive the funding, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate must first reconcile their two relief bills.
“The HEROES Act, which was the House-passed version and now the Senate has passed their version called the HEALS Act. Basically, it’s offering very large amounts but it’s going to take a little while for the House and Senate to reconcile their two different bills,” he said.
Fortunately, Thornburgh said, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate realize that support for public education is essential to reopening the economy.
“The Republican Senate has moved big time last month. After the recess, they went home, they got a real earful and they realized that if they want to go back to a full employment economy, we’ve got to support our public schools as well,” he said.