The Los Angeles Unified School District faces an estimated $200 million in emergency coronavirus costs after providing computers for all students and food for families during the outbreak, Superintendent Austin Beutner said in an interview published Monday.
It's not clear from where additional funding might come for the mounting expenses, Beutner told the Los Angeles Times.
"We know the crisis is having a big impact on the students and families we serve and it's having a big impact on school budgets as well," Beutner told The Times.
The priority has been to address a community crisis and sort out who pays the bills later, he said.
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Schools in the nation’s second-largest district have been closed since mid-March, when Californians were ordered to stay home to prevent the spread of the fast-moving coronavirus.
"The most immediate challenge is to make sure we take care of students, help them continue to learn and help students, families, most in need," Beutner told the Times.
Beutner said the district is developing an initiative that will focus on younger students. That plan might involve hiring more teachers or lowering class size.
The district's list of coronavirus emergency expenses, which will be formally released Monday, include the following, according to The Times:
- $78 million for food aid.
- $50 million for expanded summer school.
- $31 million for teacher training to lead online instruction.
- $23 million to connect students from low-income households to the Internet.
- $9 million for safety equipment and supplies, mostly in connection to the ongoing "grab-and-go" food program at more than 60 campuses.
"We served almost 600,000 meals last Friday," Beutner told The Times. "To do that properly, we make sure that those who are involved are wearing masks, they're wearing gloves, that all of the surfaces are disinfected on a continual basis throughout the day."