CARESAct – A Look at the $45 Million SDUSD Says Was Spent to Prepare Schools.

CARESAct spending through Sept 30th released. Once again the bulk of spending – $16 Million – is on Staff versus Student supports – in the category of “redirect personnel.” According to the Handbook, these are the type of expenses for that category:

  • Budgeted Personnel and Services Diverted to a Substantially Different Use
    • Costs of diverting educational support staff or faculty to develop online learning capabilities (if information technology support is not part of their ordinary responsibilities)
    • Costs of diverting any staff from their normal, routine duties to duties that are substantially dedicated to mitigating or responding to COVID-19.
    • Costs of overtime for any staff performing additional duties in response to COVID-19.

Distance Learning costs, which was the second largest category at almost $10 Million is described below. We will ask for more detail of the expenditures because we have not seen a match to these numbers through the documents posted in BoardDocs.

  • Facilitating Distance Learning
    • Technological improvements such as increasing broadband capacity
    • Software purchases that enable distance learning
    • Hardware purchases for students and/or teachers such as laptops and tablets
    • Instructional materials necessary for distance learning
    • Staff training/professional development necessary to provide quality distancelearning
    • Services and supports to facilitate student learning success and mitigate the impactof distance learning. This may include some in-person instruction, before/after school, summer instruction, or during other planned school breaks.

In general, the funds are to be used to support pupil academic achievement and mitigate learning loss related to COVID-19 school closures. Specifically:

  • Addressing learning loss or accelerating progress to close learning gaps through the implementation, expansion, or enhancement of learning supports that begin before the start of the school year and the continuation of intensive instruction and supports into the school year.
  • Extending the instructional school year by making adjustments to the academic calendar, increasing the number of instructional minutes provided during each week or schoolday, or taking any other action that increases the amount of instructional time or services provided to pupils based on their learning needs.
  • Providing additional academic services for pupils, such as diagnostic assessments of pupil learning needs, intensive instruction for addressing gaps in core academic skills, additional instructional materials or supports, or devices or connectivity for the provision of in-classroom and distance learning.
  • Providing integrated pupil supports to address other barriers to learning, such as the provision of health, counseling, or mental health services, professional development opportunities to help teachers and parents support pupils in distance-learning contexts, access to school breakfast and lunch programs, or programs to address pupil trauma and social-emotional learning.
  • Addressing health and safety concerns, including, but not limited to, purchasing public health testing, personal protective equipment, supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities and school buses of a local educational agency, and for other related needs.

What do you think, parents? Do your students feel evidence that an extra $45M has been spent on their education?