By John Fensterwald and Daniel Willis
By July 1, California school districts should get some financial relief from their share of $1.65 billion in federal stimulus funds that the state is expected to receive. Educators are hoping it will be the first installment of a bigger influx of federal aid later this summer that will let them shore up their budgets from expected cuts in state funding, as well as cover additional expenses from the coronavirus.
For school districts facing the potential prospect of big cuts in state funding next year, the funds represent a gift horse — flexible cash with few strings attached that can be spent on multiple costs of the pandemic. These could include items such as buying computers and internet access, covering the costs of distance learning, extended learning next year or paying for cleaning supports and costs of reopening schools.