Schools in the US will have to be given federal bailout if they are to reopen safely, this is according to a recently released cost analysis by the AASA, the School Superintendents Association and the Association of School Business Officials International.
The report indicates that an average school district of 3,700 students will require an additional $1.8 million. This would translate to an average of about $490 additional amount per student in a school district.
With local governments struggling and the unemployment rate in the US hitting double digits, raising this amount will become problematic for many school districts. The property taxes responsible for running schools in school districts have also seen a fall in the amount collected further straining the schools’ ability to raise enough funds to run day by day activities.
Cost of reopening schools safely
The US government has already indicated its intentions of ensuring schools are reopened with caveats that make them safer for students, teachers and other school staff. In a guideline released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), schools are required to hire additional school personnel such as custodial staff, a nurse and an aide for each school bus. For an average school district, this will amount to $448,000, $400,000 and $384,000 respectively for these hires.
An additional $148,000 is also projected to be used in acquiring disposable face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus once the schools are reopened in an average school district with 3,700 students. Social distancing protocols were also estimated to run to an estimated cost of $169,000.
A federal bailout will be needed to address money shortages
Large school districts such as Chicago will require more money to help them in ensuring the safety of the students is achieved. Without federal bailouts, these large school districts will also have major problems in funding the safe school reopenings.
Daniel Domenech, executive director of AASA, the School Superintendents Association, highlighting the problems schools are facing said it was too early to get the whole picture, however, he was certain that school districts would require federal bailouts to reopen. Alternatively, the continuation of online learning seemed plausible, given the cost of reopening schools.
Schools are already being plagued by statewide budget cuts that are estimated to put a 10 to 25 percent dent on school budgets. This has led to large school districts in Los Angeles notifying their governor that the projected school budget cut of $7billion will cripple the schools, and make them not to be able to reopen.
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