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Courtney works across aisle on school-aid bill

Every so often we are reminded that Congress, for all its dysfunction and partisanship, can get something done.

Such was the case recently when a bill was pushed through the House and Senate, with bipartisan support, that will make sure that school systems that receive federal aid because of high concentrations of students who come from untaxable military housing or tribal reservations won’t see pandemic-related funding cuts.

The Groton school system receives about $3.5 million and Ledyard $1.6 million by way of the Impact Aid program. School officials were concerned that remote learning and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 could skew the enrollment numbers that communities must file to receive the aid.

The legislation holds such school systems harmless. Last year’s count of students will be used this year to keep funding steady.

Rep. Joe Courtney introduced the bill. This is the kind of nuts-and-bolts legislating that Courtney, a Democrat who has represented our local Second Congressional District for seven terms, does well. To attract bipartisan support, Courtney worked with a Republican co-sponsor, Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, when introducing the bill. At 12%, South Dakota has among the highest percentages of Native Americans in its population.

“I’m grateful to my partner Dusty Johnson … for joining me to introduce this bipartisan bill, and for all our colleagues who helped work across the aisle to get this done,” said Courtney in announcing the legislation’s passage.

That’s called closing the loop. Maybe this proven ability to get things done on small matters bodes well for finding common ground on bigger issues. We can always hope.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Tim Cotter, Staff Writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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