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Texas schools press lawmakers for COVID relief funds

The Texas Association of School Boards says Texas lawmakers are sitting on $18 billion of federal funds that schools badly need.

TYLER, Texas — Teachers and students across the state are waiting in the balance to find out how much money the state will allocate them for next school year and when they’ll be getting it.

The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) says more than 40 other states are ahead of us and have already made plans to allocate school funds.

“There's been some learning loss over over the pandemic and a lot of our kids aren't where they would have been under normal circumstances," Dax Gonzalez, Director of Governmental Relations for TASB, said.

Credit: CBS

There could be even more learning loss by the end of the school year. According to a McKinsey and Company data analysis, students could lose an average of ten months of learning by June 2021.

“The longer that districts are operating under this uncertainty, the harder it is for them to set their budgets for next year," Gonzalez said, "And, you know, when you're setting your budgets, you're determining how much staff you need on campus, you're determining what kind of resources you can bring to campus, how many kids you can serve."

These COVID relief funds would allow Texas districts to get back on track.

“Some state leaders are a little hesitant to disperse all the funds to school districts right away and in one lump sum," Gonzalez said. "We've heard the Commissioner of Education, Mike Moran, say in a committee hearing that, that they 'wanted to hold back some of that money and not give it all at one time.' We don't really agree with that assessment.”

Gonzalez says these funds are especially crucial for the public schools that have to serve every child who comes through their doors. Whether the school has the funding or not, they have to make room for the student in the budget. The same budget hanging just out of reach.  

"We need people to be calling their local legislators, governor and the commissioner of education and telling them that our schools need this money, and the flexibility to use it to meet the needs of their communities," the TASB said.

As of now, they have not received any word on when funds will be allocated.