March 04, 2021
WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) participated in a press conference to call for the reopening of schools and to discuss his opposition to Senate Democrats’ $1.9 trillion package. Blunt highlighted comments shared to him by Knob Noster School District Superintendent Dr. Jerrod Wheeler, who oversaw the successful reopening of local schools for in-person learning.
Although Congress has provided schools with $67.5 billion to help them respond to the coronavirus and reopen safely, only about $5.2 billion has been spent. Democrats are proposing an additional $128 billion for schools in their massive $1.9 trillion package; only 5% of that education funding would be spent this fiscal year – the rest would be spent between now and 2028.
Following Are Blunt’s Remarks:
“Well, I thought I'd just give you an example of some information I got a few days ago from the Knob Noster School District in Missouri. This is near Whiteman Air Force Base.
“Here's a letter I got from the school superintendent: ‘When handled correctly, schools can safely reopen with high levels of success and normalcy for students. We stand as a good example of how that can happen. We had enough data in August to make a confident decision to reopen, and our community's been lockstep with us and very grateful for helping us get back to normal school life. For kids, reopening schools also significantly mitigated the learning-loss gap, the social-emotional disconnect concerns, and many other issues that impact their personal and family stability.’
“When Knob Noster district offered parents and students a choice to go back to school or virtual learning in August, 85% of them said we want to go to school. As of January, that number had gone up to 93%.
“And the school superintendent, Dr. Jerrod Wheeler, this is what he said at the end, ‘This story is being shared as a confirmation that reopening schools is spot on.’
“Too many kids are winding up with mental health challenges. Too many kids are getting too far behind. $67.5 billion already available to elementary and secondary schools. They've drawn down less than 10% of that. Money is not the problem here.
“[I'm] not opposed to funding schools or even helping schools as they dealt with these challenging situations. But money's not the problem here. Will to get kids back to school is the problem. And every parent and every involved grandparent and every involved neighbor knows that kids need to be in school.”