SB 86 intensifies focus on schools, yet creates barriers to school reopening
Bill provides Legislature’s counter to Governor’s proposal but needs crucial changes to allow for a safe, effective and equitable return to in-person instruction statewide
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Feb. 20, 2021) – Hoping to expedite the widespread return of in-person instruction, California legislators introduced Senate Bill 86 on Feb. 18, 2021. The $6.5 billion proposal, titled the “Safe and Open Schools Act,” is designed to get large numbers of students back in the classroom this spring. The bill, which is expected to come up for a vote as soon as next week, provides a counter to the $2 billion “Safe Schools for All Plan” introduced by Gov. Gavin Newsom in December 2020.
Unfortunately, there are some implementation barriers contained in SB 86 that will inhibit the ability of schools to reopen. On Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, CSBA sent a letter to the Legislature outlining items in the bill that run counter to its stated goals and offering recommendations that support the safe, effective and equitable reopening of schools.
CSBA appreciates the Legislature’s focus on in-person instruction and urges the Legislature and the Governor to strike any measures that would stymie the progress local educational agencies have made to provide in-person instruction at already open schools and resume on-campus instruction for those in full distance learning. It’s crucial that any legislation avoid language that would infringe on the ability of schools that are currently open to continue in-person instruction or prevent schools that are close to opening from doing so.
Click here for the link to the letter.
CSBA is a nonprofit association representing nearly 1,000 PreK-12 school districts
and county offices of education throughout California.