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Friday, May 8, 2020

K-12 school districts warn of ‘disaster’ from covid-19-related budget cuts - The Washington Post

K-12 school districts warn of ‘disaster’ from covid-19-related budget cuts - The Washington Post

K-12 school leaders warn of ‘disaster’ from huge coronavirus-related budget cuts as layoffs and furloughs begin

Just as they face unprecedented challenges and financial costs, leaders of K-12 public school districts around the country are warning of dire consequences from sharp budget cuts from state legislatures attempting to deal with the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The alarm was sounded by school superintendents in 62 cities, who sent a letter to Congress through the nonprofit Council of the Great City Schools asking Congress for billions of dollars in new federal education assistance and warning that some 275,000 teachers could be laid off in their districts alone because of budget cuts caused by a drop in state and local revenue during the crisis. (You can see the letter in full below.) Those would add to existing shortages in virtually every state.

“Dark clouds are forming on the educational horizon that will spell disaster if Congress does not intervene,” the letter said. “Significant revenue shortfalls are looming for local school districts that will exacerbate the disruption students have already faced. Some 40 to 50 percent of school district revenue, in fact, come from local sources that are expected to drop precipitously in the months ahead. This revenue decline will come on top of revenue losses in the months to come from state sources that have been more widely reported. Several big city school districts are now projecting 15 to 25 percent cuts in overall revenue going into next school year.”

In California on Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) released a budget analysis showing a $54.3 billion budget deficit through summer 2021, with projections that the K-12 public schools could lose some 20 percent of their state funding. The superintendents of the two largest school systems in California — Austin Beutner of the Los Angeles Unified School District and Cindy Marten of the San Diego Unified School District — warned that “irreparable harm” would be done to children if that happened.
Meanwhile, some districts around the country have already started furloughing and even laying off some employees.
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in California has begun laying off dozens of employees, as has New Jersey’s Lawrence Township Public Schools, which let go 22 full-time employees and 80 school aides; and the Randolph Public School District in Massachusetts, where dozens of workers — including teaching aides and food service staff — were told they will be furloughed full time CONTINUE READING: K-12 school districts warn of ‘disaster’ from covid-19-related budget cuts - The Washington Post