Lawmakers express concerns over Newsom’s plan to reopen schools


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — State senators on the education and budget committees said they 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,” said state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg.

Gov. Gavin 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.

But in a hearing on the proposal Thursday, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Office told lawmakers the plan leaves little time for schools to update reopening plans to meet the funding requirements.

The Legislative Analyst Office also noted the plan does not provide extra money to the Department of Public Health or the local governments that would likely be relief upon 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,” said Amy Li, who is from the Legislative Analyst Office.

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

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,” said state Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento

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

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