Target date for schools to re-open in California won't be established

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A target date for schools to re-open won't be established. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said some will open earlier than others if they take a safety-first approach.

"Schools will make their own decisions, school districts will make their own decisions about when they'll open with guidance that the California Department of Education will provide," he said.

Thurmond expects some schools to stagger schedules to reduce the number of students on campus. Bus and food services, though, would need to be altered. Summer sessions could help accelerate learning for kids.

"They're all great ideas, but they're also coming at a time when the state of California is facing a $54 billion deficit," says Fresno County School Superintendent Jim Yovino. "Education makes up about 40% of that."

Yovino figures county schools have already lost over $550 million in state funds.

Schools rely on sales tax and income tax for funding. Thurmond warned educators California has seen a huge decline in revenue.

"We don't know the details yet, but we are anticipating a very difficult budget," Thurmond said. "A lean budget that spells out that there are difficult times ahead."

Thurmond envisions students and staff wearing masks when school resumes. The timeline and campus model though is still up in the air.

"Will 220,000 students be back in school like it was before COVID-19 in August," Yovino said. "I think that's very unlikely as it was. It's going to be different."

Yovino adds his office is working closely with the county health department on future education plans.
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