Press Release

Rep. Castor: Federal Emergency Aid Passed by Congress in December 2020 Finally Headed to Hillsborough County Public Schools

Gov. DeSantis and Florida Legislature have slow-walked aid to K-12 schools for over five months

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Washington, May 10, 2021 | comments

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) released a statement following the announcement that Hillsborough County Public Schools will receive a portion of the of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) II funds appropriated by Congress in December 2020.

“While I am gratified that Hillsborough County Public Schools will benefit from Covid19 federal emergency aid, students and educators should not have been forced to wait over five months for the state to release a portion these funds. Congress passed these “Emergency Relief Funds” in December 2020 with the direction to expeditiously provide the emergency resources to local schools and educators. In February, I urged Governor DeSantis and the State Legislature to send the funds to local school districts as soon as possible to keep teachers on the job, address learning losses and support our students. Instead, the state slow-walked the money to the detriment of our students and educators.

“The state is still slow-walking a large portion of emergency funds that are due to HCPS and appear to be siphoning off significant dollars to charter schools.  Together with parents, teachers and local leaders, I intend to keep a close eye on the state to ensure that the federal emergency aid is provided according to federal law and serves the purpose we intended: to support our students and educators immediately, ensure continuity of student learning, avoid layoffs and other detrimental consequences. This is particularly critical in a state where the GOP-controlled Legislature’s failure to adequately support public schools year-after-year keeps Florida students in the basement for per pupil funding - ranked 46th in nation - a true embarrassment for a modern, dynamic state like Florida.”

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