Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
School & District Management

How COVID-19 Will Balloon District Costs This Coming School Year

By Daarel Burnette II — May 18, 2020 2 min read

The coronavirus is driving a steep and unprecedented increase in classroom costs that’s going to sweep through the nation’s school system as early as this fall.

In total, America will need to spend $41 billion, or 5 percent, more next year to roll out remote learning, expand food service for a growing number of low-income students, and extend the school year to make up for lost days, according to a recent analysis by Michael Griffith, a senior school finance researcher and policy analyst for the Learning Policy Institute.

Griffith has created an interactive tool to give an estimate of how much more money states will need next year to provide an adequate education in a post-COVID-19 world.

Related: Calculator: How Much Will COVID-19 Cost Schools?

“A strong system of public schools will be an essential component of the economic recovery, enabling parents to get back to work while seeking to address the learning loss and trauma many children have experienced,” Griffith wrote in a blog posted on LPI’s website.

School districts’ budgets this year and next are expected to be slammed by a precipitous drop in sales and income sales tax revenue. States are estimating 2 to 30 percent budget deficits, all of which will fall heavily on school districts, especially those that are heavily reliant on state aid. Griffith, who has pushed for a bigger federal bailout for school districts, anticipates school districts to take a $188 billion hit to their revenue.

Meanwhile, administrators have dubbed the many months of learning students will miss between March, when schools started shutting down en masse, and this fall as the “COVID-19 Slump.” They have said they will need to launch intervention efforts to make up for that loss, including enhanced tutoring and smaller class sizes.

About 15 percent of children between 3 and 18 don’t have home access to the internet, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center analysis cited by Griffith. He assumes that districts will need to spend at least $500 per child to provide them with a device, Wi-Fi, and other software to conduct widespread distant learning this fall.

Finally, Griffith said many districts will have to extend the amount of classroom time by at least 20 days that students will need to make up in lost learning time either through summer school, extended learning day or an extended school year.

Griffith also said that school districts will have to provide lunches for at least 20 additional days if districts are expected to make up the time lost.

Use this interactive tool to explore how much more money states will have to spend next year along with what sort of revenue loss that state is expected to see in the coming years.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Director of Athletics
Farmington, Connecticut
Farmington Public Schools

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion Parents Berating Teachers? Making Decisions Without the Data? Advice for Principals
A year marred by COVID-19 has created new challenges for principals. Here are some answers.
6 min read
Principal Advice SOC
Getty and Vanessa Solis/Education Week
School & District Management Student Mental Health and Learning Loss Continue to Worry Principals
Months into the pandemic, elementary principals say they still want training in crucial areas to help students who are struggling.
3 min read
Student sitting alone with empty chairs around her.
Maria Casinos/iStock/Getty
School & District Management Opinion A Road Map for Education Research in a Crisis
Here are five basic principles for a responsible and timely research agenda during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Robin J. Lake
4 min read
Two opposing sides reaching out to work together
J.R. Bee for Education Week
School & District Management 1,000 Students, No Social Distancing, and a Fight to Keep the Virus Out
A principal describes the "nightmare" job of keeping more than 1,000 people safe in the fast-moving pandemic.
4 min read
Dixie Rae Garrison, principal of West Jordan Middle School, in West Jordan, Utah.
Dixie Rae Garrison, principal of West Jordan Middle School in West Jordan, Utah, would have preferred a hybrid schedule and other social distancing measures.
Courtesy of Dixie Rae Garrison