Volusia schools asks state for funding assurances during pandemic

Headlines

The Daytona Beach News-Journal | by Cassidy Alexander | August 12, 2020

The waivers are an attempt to ensure the district’s status isn’t disrupted as it tries to provide public education during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Volusia County School Board is seeking permission from the state to get full funding for students who tune into classes from home during the coronavirus pandemic, and for an exemption from high-stakes testing in the spring.

The state mandated that all schools open to provide in-person education by the end of August, but that doesn’t mean things will bounce back to normal. The waivers are an attempt to ensure the district’s funding and status isn’t disrupted as it tries to provide public education as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow.

“Crisis management does not provide an opportunity for school boards to make sound future plans,” the draft letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis and Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran reads. “In this regard, we implore you both to provide clear and consistent guidance for the operation of public schools this year.”

The first waiver is about protecting funding for the district — not necessarily about limiting the number of students in a class at a time. As part of the Volusia County school district’s reopening plan families had the opportunity to choose the Volusia Live learning option, which will allow them to watch live-streamed classroom lessons from home on a regular school day schedule.

But the option leaves room for some ambiguity about whether students who tune in from home are virtual students or traditional students, which typically receive different levels of funding from the state. The waiver asks that the state commit to funding them as full-time students for the entire school year, not just the fall semester, and let those students count toward class size calculations.

The first waiver is about protecting funding for the district — not necessarily about limiting the number of students in a class at a time. As part of the Volusia County school district’s reopening plan families had the opportunity to choose the Volusia Live learning option, which will allow them to watch live-streamed classroom lessons from home on a regular school day schedule.

But the option leaves room for some ambiguity about whether students who tune in from home are virtual students or traditional students, which typically receive different levels of funding from the state. The waiver asks that the state commit to funding them as full-time students for the entire school year, not just the fall semester, and let those students count toward class size calculations.