Garamendi and Miller Urge Senate to Follow House Lead to Prevent Devastating Teacher Layoffs Following Release of Disturbing Report
Teacher Layoffs will Undermine Education Quality in California
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressmen George Miller (D-Martinez) and John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek) today called on the U.S. Senate to completely preserve the $10 billion in education funding found in the 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Act as approved by the House last month. They called for the preservation of education funding following a report by the Center for Education Policy (CEP) that nearly two-thirds of all school districts in America have used all their stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, prompting as many as three quarters of the nation's school districts to lay off teachers in 2010-11.
"Our children can't afford to lose a year of learning when schools lose teachers," said Congressman George Miller, Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. "By approving this addition $10 billion in emergency spending, we could make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of teachers and their students across the country."
"The Recovery Act kept more than 400,000 teachers in the classroom, but now that much of that money is running out, our schools need a booster shot," said Congressman John Garamendi, a former University of California regent and California State University trustee. "The House set aside $10 billion in the supplemental for our teachers and schools. It's my hope that the Senate can set aside partisanship for the sake of our kids and pass a supplemental with education funding intact."
In May, Mount Diablo School District announced a plan to lay off 200 teachers. In March, Dixon Unified School District announced a plan to lay off 12 teachers, and Vallejo City Unified School District announced a plan to lay off 106 teachers. More school districts will be forced to act soon without federal relief.
The 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Act creates a $10 billion Education Jobs fund to provide emergency support to school districts to prevent layoffs and keep 140,000 school employees on the job next year. An estimated 300,000 teachers could be laid off this year. The Department of Education will administer the fund and distribute the money to states through a formula based on total population and school age population. States will distribute the funds to school districts through their primary funding formula or through the Title I formula. The bill includes strict provisions that require states to use this funding only to preserve, rehire or hire new employees in elementary and secondary education.
According to the CEP, nearly 95 percent of the nation’s school districts have received or been promised funding from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund authorized by ARRA. However, many school districts have already spent all money allocated. An estimated 68 percent of school districts expect their budgets, excluding ARRA money, to decrease in school year 2010-11. 75 percent of districts expect to lay off teachers because of this funding shortfall.
Multiple studies have found that reduced class sizes are among the most significant reforms available to improve student performance. Large classes are more disruptive and offer teachers fewer opportunities for one-on-one tutelage, contributing to increased rates of students dropping out of high school.