Idaho Education Association leaders recently secured the support of Idaho’s two U.S. senators in Congress for an increase in federal for community schools.
U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch will each send a letter to the U.S. Congress urging approval of increased funding for community schools across the nation thanks to the lobbying efforts of Peggy Hoy, Idaho’s representative on the National Education Association’s board of directors. U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson also signed recently on to a letter from the entire U.S. House of Representatives endorsing $423 million in additional funding to expand community schools.
Community schools create coalitions with community partners to provide “wrap-around services” to students and families who may not have access to fundamental needs that help students succeed in school. Examples of community school services include access to mental health counseling, medical care and in-school food pantries.
“When I lobby members of congress, I always think of what I can do or say to help improve public education not only across the country, but here in Idaho,” Hoy said. “Community schools are very important to many Idaho communities and with additional support more communities would have the opportunity to create them.”
Hoy’s lobbying on the issue began in early May during a trip to Washington, D.C., for an NEA Board of Director meeting. After those initial meetings and several emails with senatorial staff members, she received word of their agreement to send letters just this week.
“Building strong relationships with policymakers through frank conversations is vital to better outcomes for public education,” Hoy said. “I hope all IEA members will join me in thanking the senators and their staffs for this effort.”