How to spend $68 million?
The Escondido School District expects to receive that amount in federal and state funding to mitigate effects of the pandemic, and board members at last week’s Study Session began the process of considering its use.
The money will be allocated just once – and with a variety of restrictions — for expenditures over the next two to three years, according to Luis Rankins-Ibarra, EUSD superintendent. He said it is possible for the district’s “full return” to in-class instruction next school year, though continuing to face “fiscal challenges due to declining enrollment and a structural deficit.”
He also suggested the possibility of further funding loss, depending on the results of a lawsuit seeking a shift in state funds due to students moving from traditional schools to charter schools. (See adjacent story on class action.)
Following is a roundup of some of the major uses of the money being proposed by district staff:
• “Virtual Academy.” This will be a separate distance learning program described as a “school within a school” for students preferring this learning approach (cost $3 million in ‘21-’22; $375,000 in ‘22-’23; $375,000 in ‘23-‘24).
• “21st Century” Furniture ($5 million). The furniture would consist of individual desks that can be “reconfigured,” meaning placed together to create a single large desk space for student “collaboration” and replacing standard tables.
• Curriculum for Enrichment ($500,000).
Social Emotional Learning/Learning Loss
• Summer school ($1,200,000 in ’21-’22, ’22-’23, and ’23-’24). Proposed for eight elementary schools and five middle schools. Teachers are being recruited to determine the coursework that can be offered.
• Interventional teachers ($2,139,000), proposed for every school.
• Kinder paraprofessionals ($1,700,000).
• Social emotional supports ($500,000).
• Orton-Gillingham Training – Kinder/1st ($460,240). The Orton-Gillingham approach is a multisensory phonics technique for remedial reading instruction.
• iPad purchases ($1,535,306).
• Digital Ed Platform ($700.000).
• 4,000 Hot Spots ($480,000).
• Screen Sharing Tech ($75,000.
• Replace HVAC Systems (($10,400,000).
These would replace systems installed in 1986, Rankins-Ibarra said.
• Roof Replacements ($5,850,000).
• Fire Alarms, Intercom, Security ($5 million).
• Fencing ($1,100,000).
• Teaching staff, Teachers Site subs, NETS Mentors (total of $39,789,100). These hires are projected, but with an overall reduction in the number of teachers for next school year.
Rankins-Ibarra said that the spending proposals will be presented April 7 to the district’s Design Team.