SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The San Diego Unified School District is preparing to reopen its campuses in the fall, but officials say they'll need more federal help before that can realistically happen.
The state Legislature rolled back $15 billion in proposed education cuts in the budget proposal it approved Monday, but SDUSD Superintendent Cindy Marten said more needs to be done.
"We appreciate the bold action taken by the Legislature to reverse all spending cuts contained in the May budget revision," Marten said. "We urge Governor Newsom to sign this budget and approve a final compromise that gives schools the funds we will need to open in a safe, responsible manner this fall."
The SDUSD, the state's second-largest school district, joined five large districts across the state to oppose the proposed education cuts in May, warning schools would need more funding -- not less -- to reopen safely this fall in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marten and her counterpart at the Los Angeles Unified School District, Superintendent Austin Beutner, jointly wrote a letter to Congress in May asking for more funds.
"Launching a comprehensive distance learning program across a large school system is a monumental task but we have made great strides in ensuring our students continue to have opportunities to learn during this crisis," they wrote. "Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified are determined to serve the needs of all students, however, there must be equitable and sufficient resources for us to achieve this goal."
Discussions are still in progress on a final state budget.
"California has used every funding mechanism at our disposal," SDUSD Board President John Lee Evans said. "Now, it is time for the federal government to do its fair share. The COVID-19 pandemic is a national emergency that warrants a national response. The federal government simply cannot leave an entire generation of school students to fend for themselves in the face of this growing tragedy."