SPUSD Gets State Funding Relief Amid School Suspension

South Pasadena Unified School District officials said this week the district received some state funding toward its daily meal program, through a state Senate bill that also ensures funding will remain untouched for the remainder of the school year.
The assurance of SB 117 comes after the district decided last week that it was going to pull the plug on reopening schools for the remainder of the current year and will instead continue with its remote teaching program, which launched this week. SPUSD suspended school operations on March 13 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and has continued to extend its prospective return date.
In a letter to the SPUSD community, Superintendent Geoff Yantz noted that this decision aligned with recommendations from county and state officials.
“As we embark on this journey together, please know that we are committed to maintaining a quality learning environment,” Yantz wrote. “As we move through these changes, we will be strengthening our online learning programs and opportunities for all students. Please approach this new program with patience and understanding as we all transition into a new way of teaching and learning to meet the health and safety impacts of COVID-19. We understand that families and educators have experienced a significant disruption to their lives that has uniquely impacted each of us.”
The new program, titled Independent Study Distance Learning Program, kicked off on Monday and will continue through June 3. The district handed out Chromebooks to students who needed them last week.
In a recent interview, Yantz had explained how faculty and staff had spent much of their time since the March 13 closure envisioning what the distance learning program would look like and how it could best reach students.
“Many others within our district are working behind the scenes, around the clock, to make this type of learning a reality for our students,” Yantz wrote in his letter last week. “Everyone is doing their best during this challenging time. I am very proud of the work ethic and commitment our school community continues to embody. Thank you to parents who have offered and will be stepping in to volunteer as needed.”
In the allocations from SB 117, SPUSD received $82,806 from the state, which is doling out $100 million total to districts statewide. According to SPUSD, this money “may be used for costs associated with maintaining nutrition services, cleaning and disinfecting facilities, personal protective equipment, and materials necessary to provide students with opportunities for distance learning.”
In its announcement, the district said student meal access was encouraged by the state as part of its allocations.
“These funds will help South Pasadena Unified absorb some of the financial impact stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Yantz wrote in that announcement. “We appreciate the additional funding, however, we received a very small amount compared to the actual financial cost associated with the state’s restricted purposes for these funds.”
Yantz added that SPUSD is, at the state’s directive, preparing for future reductions in funding, which is slated to also affect all of the state’s districts.
For up-to-date information, visit spusd.net.