Weekly News Roundup: School Budgets Are in Big Trouble


As schools across the country shut down, parents, students, and teachers are left with uncertainty and questions about what the future holds. As advocates for a high-quality education for ALL students, we’ll work to keep you up to date on the education world’s response to this crisis. As we’ve seen time and time again, many of our nation’s students are particularly vulnerable during times like this. We need to remain vigilant, stay informed of how the response is affecting ALL of God’s children, and advocate for our students’ protection and well-being.

Here are the stories that we’ve been focused on this week.

A Crisis In Education: Schools Can’t Reach Thousands Of Children via Huffington Post

Since March, over 120,000 schools have closed in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Many districts transitioned to online learning and have been working to get computers and Wi-Fi hotspots in the hands of families who need them. Other schools that haven’t provided needy families with devices are sending homework via paper packets. Communities and schools have also been setting up free lunch distribution centers to keep families fed.

But now that the initial scramble has settled and learning has recommenced, schools are facing a new stark reality: There are thousands of families they simply cannot get in touch with ― let alone teach.

5 Things State Leaders Should Do to Ensure Federal Stimulus Funds For Schools Are Used Equitably via Education Trust

While the federal response was swift and necessary, states must now prioritize the needs of K-12 students who have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic, including students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, students with disabilities, and English learners, as well as students experiencing homelessness, students in foster care, and students engaged in the juvenile justice system. The effects of the coronavirus have exacerbated existing inequities, and it is critical that these funds be used to address the deep opportunity gaps that students and families across the country are facing.

DeVos Weighs Waivers for Special Education. Parents Are Worried. via The New York Times

Parents and special education advocates fear the waivers could mark the beginning of the end of student disability rights. Seattle parent Jennifer Gratzer said she did not expect the same level of services that her son received in school. He could not see let alone follow what was happening on the screen during a recent meeting over Zoom, she said. But she said she hoped to take advantage of a benefit under the virus relief law that required schools to make up for lost time.

One thing to read this weekend

School budgets are in big trouble, especially in high-poverty areas. Here’s why — and what could help via Chalkbeat

When the last recession hit school budgets about a decade ago, it didn’t hit them equally. Affluent school districts saw their state funding drop by more than $500 per student after the downturn. High-poverty districts in the same state lost much more: over $1,500 per student in state funds.

Now, the coronavirus has brought much of the American economy to a halt. Another recession is possible, even likely. And the poorest school districts, which are particularly reliant on state funds, may once again bear the brunt of the budget crunch.

Did any of these articles particularly speak to you? We would like to hear your thoughts. Let us know in the comments below:

April 12, 2020
The Expectations Project

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