As fall quickly approaches, anxiety is growing for not only families, but also for the front line workers showing up on school campuses.
The extra $600 unemployment payment is set to expire on Friday, and both the Democratic and Republican plans to extend those benefits failed. And without this federal funding that millions have relied on, education leaders fear what this could mean for local schools.
Matt Edgell works for the state education association. He said he fears for the staff at local schools, especially if class moves out of school buildings and online for remote learning.
“If school districts in Allegheny County or anywhere in Pa. decide to go 100% virtual for first nine weeks, they don’t need bus drivers, a relatively small cafeteria staff. They don’t need custodians, they need a small paraprofessional staff,” Edgell said.
Those are potentially even more hardworking Pennsylvanians who might have to file for unemployment.
And as Edgell pointed out, many families might depend on an additional $600 a week.
“We’ve got to have their backs. That legislation extending their unemployment benefits and not cutting that $600 ... they’re right in range where that equals their salary after taxes,” he said.
Pittsburgh Public Schools will vote Friday night on whether or not it will start the first nine weeks of class up until Halloween online.
Edgell said the fact that PPS is even considering this should make everyone pay attention.
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