Kern County schools have soaring budgets to deal with students’ great needs | News – Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield, California 2021-07-25 17:00:00 –

What is the difference in school budgets from kindergarten to high school in Kern County over the course of a year? As the district was preparing for 2020-21 last summer, it faced a budget shortage, achieving a 10% reduction and at the same time switching to unprecedented distance learning.

“Even before the pandemic, we were in recession,” said Sherry Gradin, assistant director of business services at Bakersfield City School District. “Of course, this would hurt state revenues.”

California’s budget went into a $ 100 billion surplus instead of a $ 54 billion deficit, thanks to higher-than-expected income from personal, sales and corporate taxes.

Between the Flash state budget and several federal stimulating fundings, California schools enter the 2021-22 school year and have some of the healthiest budgets to date.

Budget numbers don’t look like they’ve been in the last few years, but the work that educators do doesn’t look like they’re in the past.

“We have experienced a lot over the 2020-21 academic year, which is a real opportunity to meet the needs needed to ensure the success and academic growth of all our students,” says John Mendibulu. Mr. says. , Associate Supervisor of Kern County School Supervisor.

Consider your Kang High School District budget to get a sense of dramatic recovery. In June 2020, the district budgeted $ 530 million for the 2020-21 school year, a decrease of $ 26 million from the previous year. However, according to this year’s budget, the estimated number eventually increased by $ 38 million. This year, the district has budgeted $ 637 million.

A one-time injection of pandemic-related funding from sources such as Federal CARES Act and State Extended Learning Grants for more robust summer programming, personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and technology for distance learning. We are already working through a local school to fund it.

“This is an additional expense that we don’t normally make,” Gladin said.

However, these pandemic funds, which began to fund schools in 2019-20, will be available to the district for over five years. In the case of BCSD, Gladin has so far estimated that these pandemic funds total $ 290 million. The district budgeted $ 534 million between 2021 and 22.

“There’s a lot to do to tackle the recovery of learning,” she said.

The district is trying to find the best way to use this lump sum in a way that has a lasting effect. This could mean updating the HVAC system to improve air filtration, or building a modular building to reduce class size, Mendible said. The district is also considering improving community connectivity issues.

Helping students catch up academically through face-to-face learning is already a goal at the forefront of many summer programs, and those powerful programs may continue this year. However, Mendible said many districts are considering plans to extend school days, grades, and school weeks at school on Saturday.

For example, BCSD is expanding the after-school academy to all students who are interested for the first time, Gradin said. It also adds resources for after-school tutoring.

According to Mike Zulfa, Deputy Director of Business at KHSD, Kang High School will host pre-school and after-school tutoring programs, weekend classes and a community learning hub. The district is also extending the school year for special education students.

According to Lakeside Director Ty Bryson, staff training and professional development make good use of one-time funding.

“Developing the skills and abilities of people in the school district is an investment that will continue to benefit students even after the resources used to build those abilities have been exhausted,” Bryson said in an email. I am writing in.

The school district is also quite concerned about spending money on mental health and socio-emotional learning curriculum when students return.

“Everyone recognizes that the past year has had a huge impact on the mental health of students and staff,” says Bryson. “The trauma caused by the pandemic has affected us all. Social and emotional well-being is something we need to tackle before we can tackle academic learning.”

According to Mendible, the district wants to hire social workers and psychologists who can come to help students. Some small districts in the county pool resources and share social workers.

Both BCSD and KHSD plan to increase spending on classified positions, primarily through additional positions and increased time.

At BCSD, Family and Community Engagement (FACE) liaisons and front office clerks work in shifts of eight hours to improve engagement and outreach, Gladin said. The clerk also handles the additional paperwork associated with tracking COVID-19 information. As more students come to campus, some health guidance may require additional administrative staff.

School budgets are sound throughout the state, but many school districts in Kern County are heavily funded by low-income students, learners of English, homeless students, and young people in their care. Will be done. The state is providing additional funding for these districts, and we believe these populations will need additional assistance during the 2021-22 academic year.

In individual districts, 28% to 98% of students fall into these groups, but about 80% of Kern County students fall under this umbrella, Mendible said.

In 2021, this segment of BCSD’s student population was over 93%. As a result, Gladin expects the district to receive an additional $ 14 million in one-off funding from the state, intended to be spent on staff who directly address the needs of these students. .. The district is discussing whether it is best to invest in educational or social emotional goals.

Bryson, who has about 1,500 students in his district, said small districts with a small number of socio-economically disadvantaged students are struggling with current state and federal funding schemes. .. The Small School District Association of California is working to change these formulas, which he says are leaning towards larger school districts with greater political influence.

Bryson writes that these districts “will have a hard time providing students with the same types of services that larger districts offer when schools start in the fall.”

The school’s finance department is currently in the process of closing a book for a school year that was not at least a financially predicted disaster. They are also preparing to finalize their spending plans for next year. The district passed the budget in June, but Governor Gavin Newsom finalized the state’s budget on July 12. The district must share the revision within 45 days of the budget being passed.

Kern County schools have soaring budgets to deal with students’ great needs | News Source link Kern County schools have soaring budgets to deal with students’ great needs | News

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