The California Department of Education recently announced the first allocation of the Senate Bill (SB) 117 COVID-19 response funds for the fiscal year 2019-2020 and the South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) will receive a mere $82,806 out of the $100 million the state is paying to districts.
According to the state, the priority for these funds should be health and safety needs for districts, specifically student meal access. SB 117 funds may be used for costs associated with maintaining nutrition services, cleaning and disinfecting facilities, personal protective equipment, and materials necessary to provide students with opportunities for distance learning.
“These funds will help South Pasadena Unified absorb some of the financial impact stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Superintendent Geoff Yantz. “We appreciate the additional Funding, however, we received a very small amount compared to the actual financial cost associated with the state’s restricted purposes for these funds.”
District allotments for SB 117 are based on average daily attendance (ADA). California funds school districts based on each student’s daily-recorded attendance. ADA is calculated by dividing the total number of days of student attendance by the number of days of school taught during the same period.
Though the funding level is low and does not cover expenses in its entirety, SB 117 also specifies that districts will not lose 2019-2020 funding due to COVID-19 school closures. Future state funding for SPUSD, however, is a concern. The California Department of Education and state legislature insist that school districts should prepare for future reductions in funding. SPUSD currently is funded in the bottom 10% of school districts in California.
“At the moment, our main concern is the transition to a successful Independent Study Distance Learning Program and how to best support our students and families in this new reality, said Yantz. “We also recognize that we need to be mindful of the extreme budget challenges that will become a reality within the near future.”