Joint statement: not enough funding
(May 29) A joint statement from Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified School Districts was issued today. Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner and San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten issued the following statement:
Reopening schools is integral to the future well-being of our students as well as restarting the economy. However, opening our schools will not be as easy as separating desks or placing pieces of tape on the floor. We will need to ensure the safety and well- being of all in our school community – students, staff and families. Facilities will need to be reconfigured and supplies purchased to sanitize schools on a regular basis. Personal protective equipment will need to be provided to students and staff. More teachers and staff will be needed to do this extra work in schools and to provide both in school and online learning programs. And State authorities have to provide the funding for all of these necessary pieces.
The proposed 2020-21 State budget does not provide the necessary funding to safely reopen schools. And the Governor’s proposed cuts for public education in the May Revise to the 2020-21 State budget come at a time when schools are being asked to do more – not less – to deliver a quality education for students.
Public health authorities must solve some very real issues for the safe return of our school community. For example, our two school districts employ about 90,000 people and serve approximately 825,000 students who live with another couple million people. A robust system of COVID-19 testing and contact tracing will need to be in place before we can consider re-opening schools. Local health authorities, not school districts, have to lead the way on testing, contact tracing and a clear set of protocols on how to respond to any occurrence of the virus.