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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The San Diego Unified School District is preparing to reopen its campuses in the fall, but officials say they’ll need more federal help before that can realistically happen.

The state Legislature rolled back $15 billion in proposed education cuts in the budget proposal it approved Monday, but SDUSD Superintendent Cindy Marten said more needs to be done.

“We appreciate the bold action taken by the Legislature to reverse all spending cuts contained in the May budget revision,” Marten said. “We urge Governor Newsom to sign this budget and approve a final compromise that gives schools the funds we will need to open in a safe, responsible manner this fall.”

The SDUSD, the state’s second-largest school district, joined five large districts across the state to oppose the proposed education cuts in May, warning schools would need more funding — not less — to reopen safely this fall in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marten and her counterpart at the Los Angeles Unified School District, Superintendent Austin Beutner, jointly wrote a letter to Congress in May asking for more funds.

“Launching a comprehensive distance learning program across a large school system is a monumental task but we have made great strides in ensuring our students continue to have opportunities to learn during this crisis,” they wrote. “Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified are determined to serve the needs of all students, however, there must be equitable and sufficient resources for us to achieve this goal.”

Discussions are still in progress on a final state budget.

“California has used every funding mechanism at our disposal,” SDUSD Board President John Lee Evans said. “Now, it is time for the federal government to do its fair share. The COVID-19 pandemic is a national emergency that warrants a national response. The federal government simply cannot leave an entire generation of school students to fend for themselves in the face of this growing tragedy.”

San Diego Unified School District held a meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss new guidelines and the plan for local campuses.

Parents made their voices heard.

“We need kids in school five days a week. Amusement parks can reopen, airlines get bailed out and parents are back to work. We need kids in school,” one parent said.

Families will have options. Parents who are on the fence about sending their children back to school will be able to enroll their kids a robust distance learning program. School leaders say parents who do choose to send their children back to campus should know safety is the No. 1 priority.

“We know how to develop a plan that’s going to be within the California Department of Health guidelines. There’s not one perfect way to say, how are you going to implement those safety guidelines and make hard and fast, black and white rules … that’s why they’re guidelines,” Marten said.

School leaders will vote on their budget at the end of the month. They hope the federal government will fill any holes.

The district’s 2020-2021 school year is slated to start Aug. 31.