Coronavirus pandemic now threatens upcoming school calendars and district budgets

As the threat of the coronavirus pandemic continues, education leaders around the state are now facing possible changes to the upcoming 2020 school year which could potentially include budget cuts.

Many school districts around the state are scheduled to go back to school in August but many leaders are now scrambling to re-evaluate and make adjustments.

“Right now, we just don’t know what the school year will look like,” said Dr. Grant Rivera, Marietta City School Superintendent.

The Marietta City School District is among hundreds of school systems around the state that still don’t know what the new year will look like for teachers and students.

In a letter to parents on April 24, Dr. Rivera says they are relying on guidance from safety experts about when schools can return to normal operations. The district is scheduled to return on August 4, but Dr. Rivera says it will at least be another month before he knows for sure.

“In collaboration with Cobb Health officials, we believe we will have a better idea in June about what it will look like in July and August,” said. Dr. Rivera.

Education experts tell FOX 5, school districts will likely be forced to make adjustments to their budgets as well. School budgets that rely on state and federal funds have also been delayed.

“It’s a possibility because we are going to be affected economically,” said Verdaillia Turner, President of the Georgia Teacher Federation.

 “We usually have a budget set by July 1,” said Dr. Rivera. “But this year, we will go into July without a budget or confirmed revenue.”

According to education experts, it’s not a matter of if school districts will need to make adjustments to their calendars and budget but rather how.

“It’s about as tough as deciding whether to close schools. We want to take care of our staff and children,” said Dr. Rivera.