Lawmakers concerned about Newsom’s plan to reopen schools

California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) – Governor Gavin Newsom is hoping the state legislature takes swift action on his school reopening plan which would allow some to reopen for in-person instruction within the coming weeks but some state lawmakers have serious concerns with the proposal.

State Senators on the education and budget committees have a long list of concerns about the governor’s school reopening plan.

“A false start is going to roil the public even more than they already are,” State Senator Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, said.

Newsom’s $2 billion proposed plan targeted allowing in-person teaching to restart in February, promising funds to help with personal protective equipment, frequent testing and contact tracing.

In a hearing on the proposal Thursday, the non-partisan legislative analyst office told lawmakers the plan leaves little time for schools to update reopening plans to meet the funding requirements.

The LAO also noted the plan does not provide extra money to the Department of Public Health or local governments who would likely be relied upon for the logistical load.

“As the Governor’s proposal is currently crafted, we have concerns about how effective it will ultimately be in getting schools to open earlier,” Amy Li, Legislative Analyst Office, said.

Newsom’s administration Thursday could not tell lawmakers how many schools in the state are open now, nor could they say how many have applied for the funding.

His administration also could not provide details on the plan to vaccinate teachers, which is included in Newsom’s proposal.

This is just one example of the communication breakdown noted by lawmakers, teachers and parents in this process.

“Maybe the Governor’s office can come back and tell me that I’m wrong, but it doesn’t sound like the pieces are together yet and that’s concerning to me,” State Senator Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, said.

The hearing was just informational, so lawmakers did not take a vote — How and even if this plan moves forward is to be determined.

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