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Letter to The Honorable David Obey, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) and Congressman Bob Etheridge (D-NC) today led a group of 104 other House members in support of an effort to provide emergency funding to save 250,000 education related jobs. In a letter to House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-WI), the group offered its strong support for the inclusion of the $23 billion provision in the emergency supplemental appropriations bill that is expected to come up for a vote in the coming weeks.

"This funding would save 250,000 education jobs," said Hinchey. "With school districts throughout the country deciding between teacher layoffs and property tax increases it is now more urgent than ever that we provide this funding. Our schools are counting on us and we can't let them down."

"In many ways, teachers have bared the brunt of this economic downturn," Hare said. "In my state of Illinois, nearly 17,000 teachers are set to be laid off before the next school year begins. This is unacceptable. For the sake of our teachers, our students, and our communities, I strongly support the inclusion of $23 billion in emergency funds to stave these layoffs."

On May 13, 2010, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan sent a letter to House leadership asking for inclusion of the $23 billion provision in the upcoming bill. In December, the House passed the Jobs for Main Street Act, which contained the same provision. This bill was not taken up by the Senate, prompting Hinchey to lead a group of 51 House members in calling for Senate leaders to schedule a vote as soon as possible for an emergency supplemental bill to provide the funding.

Last year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided more than than $100 billion for states to support their public school systems. This funding has been credited with creating and retaining more than 300,000 education-related jobs including positions for teachers, nurses, bus drivers and custodians. It also helped states avoid a budget crisis that would have resulted in significant cuts to school system budgets. With this funding set to run out and states still facing bleak budgetary outlooks, new action is needed to prevent layoffs.

The full text of the letter to Chairman Obey along with a list of co-signers and endorsing organizations is appended below.

May 26, 2010

The Honorable David Obey
Chairman
House Appropriations Committee
H-218 U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Obey:

We write to applaud your inclusion of $23 billion for education related jobs in the emergency supplemental appropriations bill that is currently being drafted. Like you, we believe that including this funding is an essential step to avoid hundreds of thousands of layoffs in our education system. On May 13th, Secretary Duncan sent a letter to House leadership asking for inclusion of this funding in the upcoming bill and we appreciate your response to that request.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) included nearly $100 billion for public school systems. This funding has been credited with creating and retaining more than 300,000 education-related jobs, including positions for teachers, nurses, bus drivers and custodians. It also helped states avoid a budget crisis that would have resulted in significant cuts to school system budgets.

The funding provided by ARRA is running out. At the same time, states are still facing bleak budgetary outlooks and may very well have to cut funding for education in order to balance budgets. If Congress does not pass additional funding for education jobs soon, many of the jobs that have been supported by ARRA will be lost.

In December, the House passed the Jobs for Main Street Act, which contained $23 billion for education related jobs. The Senate introduced its version of the bill earlier this year. Unless Congress provides funding for education jobs in the supplemental, it is likely that this funding will not get to states this year.

As you know, it is essential that we build upon the investment made in ARRA and provide $23 billion to help states support 250,000 education jobs. Given the importance of this issue, and the urgency with which Congress needs to act, we believe this funding qualifies as emergency spending and thank you for including it in the supplemental appropriations bill.

Thank you for considering our request. We stand ready to assist you in any way necessary to ensure the passage of this critical funding to support our education system.

Sincerely,

Congressman Maurice Hinchey
Congressman Phil Hare
Congressman Bob Etheridge

Cosigners (104): Andrews, Baca, Baldwin, Berman, Blumenauer, Bishop (GA), Bishop (NY), Boswell, Boucher, Braley, Brown (FL-03), Capps, Capuano, Carnahan, Castor, Chu, Clarke, Cleaver, Cohen, Conyers, Courtney, Crowley, Cummings, Davis (IL), Davis (CA), Delahunt, Deutch, Dingell, Ellsworth, Filner, Foster, Frank , Fudge, Garamendi, Grijalva, Gutierrez, Hall (NY), Hastings (FL), Higgins, Hinojosa, Hirono, Holden, Holt, Honda, Israel, Jackson-Lee, Johnson (GA), Kildee, Kilroy, Kissell, Lewis (GA), Loebsack, Lofgren, Lujan, Lynch, Maffei, Maloney, Matsui, McCarthy (NY), McDermott, McGovern, Meeks, Miller (NC), Moore (KS), Moore (WI), Moran (VA), Norton, Ortiz, Owens, Pallone, Pascrell, Pierluisi, Polis, Price (NC), Rangel, Reyes, Richardson, Rothman, Roybal-Allard, Rush, Ryan (OH), Sablan, Sanchez, Linda, Sarbanes, Schakowsky, Schiff, Scott (VA), Shea-Porter, Sherman, Sires, Stark, Sutton, Thompson (MS), Tierney, Titus, Tonko, Towns, Tsongas, Van Hollen, Waxman, Weiner, Woolsey, Wu, Yarmuth.

Endorsing Organizations: American Association of School Administrators (AASA), Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA), Association of Land Grant and Public Universities (APLU), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA), California School Employees Association (CSEA), California Charter Schools Association, Chicago Public School (CPS), Committee for Education Funding (CEF), National Association of Elementary School Principles (NAESP), National Association of Secondary School Principals, (NASSP), National Education Association (NEA), National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition (NREA), National School Board Association (NSBA), Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and the Rebuild America's Schools Coalition.


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