LAUSD Faces $200 Million In Uncovered Bills For Coronavirus Response
The Los Angeles Unified School District’s leader pleaded with California for more emergency funding today, saying uncovered bills for the district’s response to the coronavirus crisis are mounting fast.
By the end of the school year, Superintendent Austin Beutner estimated that LAUSD’s pandemic response will cost nation's second largest public school system nearly $200 million that it doesn’t currently have in its $8 billion budget. Here's a quick look at those costs:
- $78 million for meals. The federal government reimburses for school meals to students. But they don’t reimburse for distributing meals to their parents, and without action from the state or federal level, LAUSD will be left with a $40 million tab for the meals it’s given to adults.
- $50 million for expanded summer school, twice the amount the district had originally budgeted for the program. Beutner promised a “major effort” to scale up LAUSD’s summer offerings this year to prevent summer learning loss.
- $31 million to train teachers for distance learning. Beutner noted the district saved some money on this item by conducting this training while teachers were still being paid to lead classes online.
- $23 million to close the digital divide. LAUSD got the sign-off to use roughly $72 million in bond dollars to purchase thousands of laptops to give to needy students, "but providing an internet connection to students who cannot afford one at home is also necessary," Beutner said.
- $9 million for safety equipment. The state recently issued emergency funding to schools for personal protective gear and other supplies needed to deep-clean campuses. LAUSD’s already spent more than twice what the state sent.
Beutner “does not anticipate” layoffs in the near future. State law says that schools must announce layoffs before March 15.
While state government is likely to face a budgetary crisis of its own as the economy sours, Beutner still urged lawmakers to increase K-12 funding in a video update:
It may sound counter-intuitive … but it’s necessary, unless we’re prepared to sacrifice a generation of boys and girls who are counting on a great education as a path out of poverty.
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