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Rubio, Ernst Call for Updates on Schools’ Reopening Status

Mar 18, 2021 | Comunicados de Prensa

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) in calling for regular public updates on the reopening of our nation’s schools and transparency into the status of the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money provided for students’ safe return to the classroom. The School Reopening and Spending Transparency Act (S. 827) would require the U.S. Department of Education to publish information on the status of taxpayer dollars and schools’ operating status.
“Congress voted to send hundreds of billions of dollars to schools that refuse to reopen their doors,” Rubio said. “Getting students back in the classroom should be our top priority. There are serious questions of how quickly these funds will actually be used and if they will be leveraged to help students safely return to school right now. Because Democrats and the Biden Administration have failed to provide these answers, it is critical that we have clear transparency and oversight into the status of these funds. This legislation would provide for that oversight.”
“Experts have told us that keeping our classrooms closed is leaving a generation of students behind and having a devastating impact on our families, but bureaucrats in school districts across the country continue to ignore the science and keep the doors shut,” Ernst said. “Incredibly, Democrats are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on schools that won’t be used for half a decade, and have nothing to do with getting kids back in the classroom right now. Families have a right to know exactly how those tax dollars are being spent and whether or not they are being used to actively reopen our schools.”
Under this legislation, the Department of Education would establish and maintain a public website tracking the education expenditures by states of federal funds from the major COVID relief bills Congress has passed since the start of the pandemic, including the Democrats’ latest $1.9 trillion bill that included $128.6 billion in relief for schools. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that only 5% of the funding in the latest bill will actually be spent by the end of this fiscal year. In fact, it would take seven years for the money to be spent in its entirety.
The bill would also require the Department to report and update monthly the operating status of that nation’s school districts during the 2020-21 school year, tracking the number of days they are closed to in-person learning, providing hybrid learning, or providing an option for full-time, in-person instruction for all students.
In January, leading health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that America’s schools should reopen as soon as possible if precautions are taken. President Biden’s own CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has also stated that it is clear “that there is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen.”