WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Donald Trump has threatened to cut federal funding from schools that don’t reopen in September. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner says the president cannot unilaterally take funding away from schools.
“You’re president, not a dictator. You cannot arbitrarily say that money that has been appropriated for education, you can’t hold that back,” Warner said.
Warner has introduced a bill that prevents the administration from reducing or redirecting education funding from schools that decide they cannot safely reopen.
“These are healthcare decisions about the safety of our kids. It should be decided on a local basis,” Warner said.
Warner worries the president’s actions would have a disastrous effect on schools in poorer communities.
“Those schools, where there might be even a higher incidence of COVID, this threat of cutting off funding is even more immoral,” Warner said.
West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito supports distance learning, as reopening schools would be expensive for cash-strapped school districts.
“They’re going to have to hire extra staff for sanitation, probably might need extra room, they’re going to need more [personal protective equipment], they’re probably going to need shielding in the cafeteria,” Capito said.
Capito says the proposed Senate Republican HEALS Act would include more than $100 billion for education and two-thirds of it would be for in-person instruction.
“But we’re not shutting out those schools that decide they can’t and that they need more money for digital learning,” Capito said.
But all that money is delayed for now, as Republicans and Democrats argue over what should be in the next coronavirus relief bill.