Statement on $50 million in (maybe) city funds: It’s still not enough

“It’s not enough”

Parents United for Public Education acknowledges the Mayor and City Council for their (albeit confused) efforts to ensure the opening of school, but again, as we said earlier, we want to be clear: It’s not enough. The City may be doing its part to open schools. $50 million is not enough to educate our children for this year.

$50 million will ensure inequity of resources across the District. $50 million ensures that the majority of our schools will open with inadequate safety and teaching staff. It is unconscionable that schools have been given zero book and supply dollars, or that schools with libraries cannot open because the District fails to allocate librarians. Dr. Hite has publicly said that guidance counselors, school aides and teachers will be distributed at the discretion of central office to the “largest and neediest” schools. This too is unacceptable. All children are needy. Every child deserves access to a guidance counselor. Every child deserves to have a school aide watching out for them in the lunchroom and on the play yard.

As parents, we cannot continue to normalize impoverishment and deprivation.

We repeat the call we have issued since this crisis became clear last year. Supt. Hite declared the schools needed $180 million from both the city and state. The state must immediately release the $45 million in federal money already due to us. City and state officials must work with the District to determine what additional amount of money is necessary to restore an adequate and equitable redistribution of staff to our schools before September 9th.

The District must re-do its school by school budgets to demonstrate how these funds will adequately, equitably and safely staff our schools for the entire school year. We want assurances that there will be a guidance counselor in every school building, and that aides, teachers, assistant principals, librarians, nurses, extracurriculars and book and supply money be restored both equitably and adequately.

Superintendent Hite called $50 million “necessary but not sufficient.” It is wrong to open buildings in September with such a dangerously low standard. Parents must see that our schools are safe and adequately staffed and funded. It is not enough to have the money to open buildings. We want funding to educate our children in the way in which they deserve.

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