Friday, February 19, 2021
After weeks of tense negotiations, California legislators agreed Thursday on a $6.5 billion proposal aimed at getting students back in classrooms this spring following months of closures because of the pandemic.
The proposed “Safe and Open Schools” plan would overhaul a $2 billion proposal from Gov. Gavin Newsom that was widely criticized by school superintendents, unions and lawmakers. The proposal unveiled by Newsom in December would have rewarded schools that reopened with additional funding for safety measures.
Critics said it set unrealistic timelines, didn’t include enough money to pay for frequent COVID-19 testing of students and teachers, and failed to address the vaccination of teachers.
The new proposal would triple the funding for schools and require county public health departments to offer vaccinations to school staff who return to in-person classes. It also pushes back the timeline for reopening and gives school districts greater freedom in how to spend the funding, which each district would receive based on its student population.
It almost looks like the teachers' union is shaking down the state government for more money before they go back to work.