With the 2019-2020 school year just completed, Arizona’s public school leaders are now sharply focused on the challenges of opening schools for the year ahead. The uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic are making the task incredibly complex. “Opening schools” will look different than it ever has before and approaches for doing so will vary from district to district.

 

As a local education leader, you can’t predict the future, but you can utilize the best information available to plan, prepare and make decisions that will prioritize student learning and student and staff safety, and meet the needs of your own community at this unprecedented time.

 

Your partner, resource and advocate

ASBA is here as a partner, resource and advocate as your board and district plan and prepare, and as you navigate the year ahead.

 

On Monday, June 1, the Arizona Department of Education will release a resource to support districts with guidelines and recommendations for school re-entry. Developed by a task force of more than 70 education stakeholders from around the state with diverse backgrounds and experience, ADE’s “Roadmap for Reopening Schools” will include critical areas of this process. ASBA was proud to represent Arizona’s school boards on the task force.

 

Upcoming webinars on opening schools

In the weeks ahead, ASBA will be co-hosting a series of webinars related to the “Roadmap for Reopening Schools” with ADE, ASA and AASBO to dig deeper and provide opportunities for you to ask questions. Details and links to register for the webinars, which will cover health, strategic planning, and school finance and will be available early next week.

 

Advocacy to support schools during the COVID-19 pandemic

In addition, ASBA is working together with other education stakeholders to urge the Legislature to hold a special session to address school finance issues BEFORE school begins. Issues that ASBA is advocating for include:

  • A limit on enrollment decline to provide budget stability throughout the year
  • Flexibility on attendance requirements to allow students to be counted as enrolled and attending to prevent automatic withdrawal.
  • Ensure that districts are held harmless in transportation funding if they run fewer miles, or are able to receive reimbursement for extra miles that must be driven related to following CDC guidelines (e.g. fewer students on a bus means more route miles for the same students)
  • School finance waiver authority for ADE to address technical issues that arise during the school year without the need for Legislation.