Will Children Be Casualties Of The Stimulus “Compromise”?
The stimulus kabuki continues. Will children be the losers in this publicly played out farce? Via CQ:
The single biggest spending cut to the original Senate plan comes out of a $79 billion state fiscal stabilization allocation that would help states avoid tax increases and cutbacks in education and other high priority services. The compromise trims that funding to $39 billion and sets up a conflict with the House-passed bill that allocates $79 billion….
The compromise would cut additional funding for Head Start and Early Head Start, programs to prepare children to succeed in school, from $2.1 billion to 1.05 billion. That’s half of the $2.1 billion in the House bill.
The Senate substitute eliminates $5.8 billion in the original measure that would have been spent on grants and contracts to prevent illness through health screenings, education, immunization, nutrition counseling, media campaigns and other activities. The House has set aside $3 billion for prevention and wellness.
Children don’t vote. Which means that programs which benefit them far too often end up on the funding chopping block.
So who will pushback on their behalf for the upcoming conference negotiations on this bill?
I know I will be. And I hope you will, too. Why? Because without a public push, the likelihood of any of this funding being restored is nil — and the most vulnerable members of our society will be shoved aside. Again. At a time when their need is increasingly desperate.
Some ammunition for calls to your Senators and House members:
Nearly 50 percent of students who attend Yulee Primary School rely on a getting a free or reduced-price lunch, and that number is growing rapidly, according to officials. Many school districts said they don’t expect to see that trend end any time soon.
"It’s such an iffy world out there right now. We just have to maintain these programs for the parents to have the knowledge that their kids are going to get at least one good meal a day," said Nassau County food services director Allyn Graves….
For many school districts the demand for assistance has begun eating into the budget. Fresh fruit can no longer be offered on a daily basis because it’s too expensive. Also, food service jobs are being eliminated.
Schools, often the first safety net for struggling families, are emerging as a key anchor for homeless youths. In addition to their legally required free breakfasts and lunches, many schools also offer tutoring, give out backpacks and clothes, and connect families with community services. In Manassas a social worker has arranged for homeless high school students to go early to shower.
— Lest people think the homeless children problem is recent, it’s been growing since 2003.
Also, prior articles in this child poverty series: making child poverty a priority; mortgaging the nation’s future Part I and Part II; better childhood nutrition Part I and Part II; give kids a head start; bringing poverty to the table Part I and Part II; true compassion.