Public school districts have struggled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their budgets were upended due to the increased cost of adapting to home learning and ensuring that every student has access to an education.
Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) CEO and Superintendent Eric Gordon discussed how the district has adapted to the new situation created by COVID-19 and what the school district needs to continue providing an education on America’s Work Force Union Podcast.
Budgeting during the COVID-19 pandemic
Gordon said the CMSD has been strained due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said they have had to spend millions of dollars in order to adapt to home learning. With many students living without internet or any way to attend online classes, Gordon said the district had to purchase and distribute iPads, laptops and internet hotspots for families to use.
Additionally, teachers, lunch staff, janitorial staff, bus drivers and other district workers needed to be provided a wage, continuing to strain the budget.
CARES Act and other stimulus funding
Gordon said the district received and spent roughly $27 million in funds from the CARES Act. The money was spent on the previously mentioned expenses to continue educating students remotely.
He said that without additional stimulus funding, the district would have to make further cuts to operations and extracurricular’s. Additionally, some staff would be laid off and some schools would be at risk of shutting down.
Finally, Gordon urged listeners to support school levies, as they help to fund public education and have side benefits such as increased property values.