This pandemic has exacerbated inequities that have existed in the District for decades and will hit the most vulnerable children particularly hard. Far too many public school students, especially the approximately half identified as at-risk, lack access to reliable Internet, media that can be used for distance learning, a safe and affordable place to live, regular nutritious meals and adequate health care. Charters have allocated scarce resources to fill these gaps, making for new and unanticipated expenditures, while receiving fewer city dollars per student than the traditional school system.
Nonprofits are included in the federal legislation and, if a public charter school qualifies and needs funds to provide essential services, it would be failing its students if it didn’t apply for relief to alleviate the costs involved. This is surely why D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) supports “schools using all legally available tools” to help them.
Anne Herr, Washington
The writer is interim co-executive director of Friends of Choice in Urban Schools.