Friday, March 12, 2021

Newsom’s CA school reopening bill funds extra programs | The Sacramento Bee

Newsom’s CA school reopening bill funds extra programs | The Sacramento Bee
Tutoring, meals and more: What California’s school reopening plan has for families

When Megan Bacigalupi’s sons went to distance learning last March, she knew it wouldn’t be easy.

Now, the two boys who attend kindergarten and second grade in Oakland Unified School District, have been learning through Zoom for more than a year. What was a challenge in 2020 has the potential to impact her sons for years to come.

“Normally they’d be sitting with peers at a table interacting together, learning together, and all of that it’s gone.,” said Bacigalupi, who is part of Open Schools CA, a parent-led push to reopen schools. “So what I have noticed with both my kids is just like the engagement with school, the willingness to do the work. It was hard a year ago, it’s almost impossible now.”

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a hard-fought funding bill designed to get students back in classrooms this spring. Of the $6.6 billion in state funding for school reopening, $4.6 billion is to be used by schools to mitigate learning loss, aiming to help kids like Bacigalupi’s sons get the supplemental instruction and support they need to catch up from a year of education through screens.

Lawmakers will give schools flexibility in how they want to spend the money, but there are some parameters.

Schools must use at least 85% of the money for in-person instruction, and at least 10% should be used to hire paraprofessionals for supplemental instruction, with a focus on rehiring those who were subject to layoffs.

Otherwise, there’s a wide range of ways schools can use the funds. They can extend the school day or year, launch summer school programs, provide meals to vulnerable students, create extra programming and instruction for students, hire mental health professionals, or create extra training for educators, among other things.

The funds will be portioned out to each school district based on student populations. By June 1, schools must present a plan to use the money. Schools then have until August 2022 to use the learning mitigation funds.

Schools will receive money based on the typical state funding formula, with extra CONTINUE READING: Newsom’s CA school reopening bill funds extra programs | The Sacramento Bee