Courtesy of Krystal Lomanto, superintendent of San Benito County schools:
The release of Governor Gavin Newsom’s May Budget Revision on May 14 reflected California’s $54 billion budget deficit, resulting in a 10 percent cut to the Local Control Funding Formula, a $19 billion decline in Proposition 98 and other reductions in education spending.
As we look at developing plans to possibly open schools in the fall, fiscal implications must be considered. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused tremendous disruption for our K-12 public education system. As our districts, charter school and the San Benito County Office of Education (SBCOE) prepare to re-open safely in the fall, significant resources will be needed. Social distancing will require smaller class sizes. Implementing new guidelines such as wellness/temperature checks, required face coverings and properly disinfecting schools and maintaining safe learning environments will be our top priority for students, staff, and parents.
For more information please visit the Center for Disease Control webpage that provided guidance for schools to reopen, “Considerations for Schools.” All these efforts will require additional funds.
The San Benito County Office of Education continues to work with our districts and charter school by hosting weekly collaboratives. This past week the San Benito County Public Health Officer, David Ghilarducci, MD, provided important information to our schools and answered questions. The SBCOE also asked Michael Fine, Chief Executive Officer of Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), to present budget information during our collaborative. The primary mission of FCMAT is to help California’s local K-14 educational agencies identify, prevent, and resolve financial, operational, and data management challenges.
The San Benito County Office of Education has also provided resources and planning documents for districts to use. The most recent document the SBCOE provided is a “Preparing for 2020-2021 School Year” template that is aligned to the CDC Considerations for Schools.
The San Benito County Office of Education would like to CONGRATULATE all of our students who are being promoted and graduating from high school in the next few weeks. Although this has been an extremely difficult situation, we are exceptionally proud of our students. Our students have shown resilience, grit, and have persevered to reach the finish line. We are very proud of your accomplishments!
The SBCOE will continue to communicate information to our community as we continue to navigate the pandemic and its effect on education. We are proud of our incredible community and want to thank each of you for your patience, understanding and cooperation during this time.
Krystal Lomanto, County Superintendent of Schools