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Letter to the Senate Opposing an Amendment to the Economic Recovery Package on "Equitable Partcipation"

February 04, 2009

Dear Senator:


We urge your opposition to an amendment to be offered by Senator Vitter to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that would require states to use some of the funds provided under the State Stabilization Fund provisions for students in private schools.  Votes associated with this issue may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 111th Congress. 

The Vitter “equitable participation” amendment would impact funds intended to offset state and local funds lost due to state budget crises.  The state funds that have vanished in this economic downturn are the lifeblood of the public school and public university systems.  The goal of the Stabilization Fund is to shore up public education budgets that are being ravaged in the worsening economy.  The Stabilization Fund is targeted to restore these lost funds to struggling local communities through existing state formulas in the same manner as other state funds.  Requiring these funds to shore up private schools defies the intent of the Stabilization Fund to fill in the gaps of dwindling state and local funds for public education. Therefore, such a provision would be tantamount to an unprecedented federal mandate effectively requiring states and localities use their own funds for such purposes.

We strongly urge your opposition to the Vitter amendment. 


Sincerely,

Diane Shust
Director, Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy