During the pandemic, anomalous and unpredictable fluctuations in student enrollments are creating a misleading picture of expected enrollments in 2021, which will affect the calculations of the Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI) for per-pupil funding allotments.
If unaddressed, this pandemic-related underrepresentation of enrollments will reduce funding allocations in districts all across Washington, creating budget shortfalls that will negatively impact students in every corner of our state.
Additionally, even though most districts are no longer physically transporting students, they are using buses to bring meals and print materials to students – which makes potential cuts to school transportation budgets disproportionately harmful to lower-income students and students of color in the current pandemic.
Sustaining a fully-staffed supportive learning ecosystem when students return to the classroom is essential for the long-term educational success as we move beyond our current unprecedented instructional challenges.
Holding school districts budgets harmless from the pandemic – including from potential cuts to school transportation funding and temporary fluctuations in enrollments – will prove critical to supporting healthy and equitable learning environments when students return to in-class instruction.