Stabenow bill would send cash to schools for health safety


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan’s senior U.S. senator has introduced a new bipartisan piece of legislation aimed at helping schools open successfully and safely in the fall.

The idea is that schools need more money to meet the criteria the federal and state governments will impose to open as the coronavirus pandemic remains a threat. One estimate indicates each district would need an average of $1.8 million to make the needed adjustments.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who chairs the Senate Education Committee, said he could support a bill that would make up to $75 billion available to states to distribute to schools.

“This is a bipartisan bill. It’s very important. Nothing gets done if it’s not bipartisan. It would provide needed dollars to make sure when schools reopen our children are safe,” Stabenow told News 8 Thursday. “I think every parent and grandparent and teacher and administrator, everyone is anguishing about how do we do this. And we know that it takes more resources. It takes the protective equipment for teachers and others. It takes social distancing, which means the desks have to farther apart and which means more classrooms.”

Even with Alexander on board and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., as a co-sponsor, Stabenow said she worries Senate Majority Leader Match McConnell, R-Ky., won’t take the bill up in a timely manner.

And time would appear to be critical. Some schools could reopen in just shy of 60 days.

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