(Ohio) – School districts in Ohio are entering uncharted territory as they prepare for the start of a new school year.
This news update is courtesy of Newsymom news affiliate, WTUZ Radio.
There are calls for elected leaders to provide adequate support to ensure that schools can meet the challenges of educating during a pandemic.
In June’s state budget cuts, Ohio schools lost an estimated 300-million dollars in funding. Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro contends a new round of federal coronavirus relief is needed.
“And not with strings attached in a way that forces or bullies schools to open unsafely, all schools need that support. With the downturn in the economy, state revenues have taken a hit; local revenues have taken a hit.”
DiMauro explains some districts now face increased staffing costs, including the need for full-time nurses and additional paraprofessionals to assist with new safety protocols. And others, he adds, don’t have enough money to ensure students have the technology they need for learning at school and at home.
Governor Mike DeWine announced on Tuesday that 38-percent of Ohio public schools are returning to class with a regular five-day schedule; 25-percent are starting with instruction that is fully remote; and 24-percent are beginning with a hybrid of both. DiMauro notes that districts are prepared to adjust as needed.
“The reality is, most students are probably going to have both remote and in-person learning at some point during the course of this year, depending on how the virus plays out. The good news is we’ve had a lot of time to do some planning for this school year. We’re not being thrown into it without any advance planning.”
Congressional leaders are at a standstill on the latest economic relief package to help states during the pandemic. Both Republicans and Democrats have introduced broad proposals that include funding for K-12 education.
Nick McWilliams Reporting