Report: LI school districts with highest COVID-19 infection rates face $46M in school funding cuts
A new report shows the communities hit hardest by COVID-19 are also those with the most underfunded schools.
Students and parents are waiting to see how the upcoming school year will look, with reopening plans due Friday and a decision from Gov. Andrew Cuomo coming during the first week of August.
But a report, released by the Alliance for Quality Education, says the communities hit hardest during the pandemic saw a combined $46 million cut in state aid for the upcoming school year.
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"We're looking at huge cuts to education across Long Island, and the districts that were hit hardest with COVID, we have to make sure we do not cut them," says Lisa Tyson, of the Long Island Progressive Coalition. "We have to tax the wealthy to get out of this problem. It's the only way around it. If we want to have distance learning, if we want to have a good school year coming up, we cannot cut a dollar. We have to give more resources to schools right now."
According to the report, the hardest hit communities on Long Island include Amityville, Brentwood, Central Islip, Copiague, Wyandanch, Freeport, Hempstead, Roosevelt and Westbury.
"Overcrowding is a huge problem in Long Island's high-needs school districts," says Jasmine Gripper, of the Alliance for Quality Education. "Students did not have access to technology when they were in the school building, and they definitely don't have access while they're at home during this time of what was supposed to be remote learning. We also know there's not enough support staff in place for students. Students coming from poverty, students from low-income neighborhoods need additional help to meet their social and emotional needs."
One example cited in the report comes from the Brentwood school district, when school buildings were shut down and the district wasn't able to provide laptops or tablets to all students for remote learning. That led to what's being called "COVID-19 learning loss."