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Managing Public Education Resources During the Coronavirus Crisis: Practical Tips and Considerations for School District Leaders

By Jason Willis, Kelsey Krausen, Lauren Outlaw


Concerns about the new coronavirus are having profound effects on the public education landscape, from how educators deliver instruction to the amount of revenue available for operating schools.

The full fiscal effect of school closures and of the country’s broader economic downturn is not yet known, but predictions are distressing. More than ever, school districts and charter schools must make strategic decisions about how to allocate resources based on the specific needs of their own community.

This timely brief, produced by WestEd as part of a collection of Crisis Response Resources, offers practical information and guidance, including an analysis of available funding under the CARES Act, to help school district and charter school leaders manage and strategically allocate resources amid widespread school closures and in the face of an almost certain reduction in education funding over the coming fiscal year.

The four key guiding principles for decision-making detailed in this document provide some anchor points for education leaders. They include:

  • Ensure continuity of core services. To the greatest extent possible, ensure continuity of basic services, principally quality instruction, technology for online learning, and meals for eligible students.
  • Focus first on providing support for students who need it most. During school closures, attend to those students who are least able to get learning support and resources from home.
  • Despite many unknowns, don’t wait to plan. While responding to immediate critical needs is essential, set aside time to confer with other district and charter school leaders to plan, strategize, and think ahead to next year’s budget.
  • Keep the community informed. Leaders should communicate with the community about their efforts to support students and families and about anticipated budget challenges and potential shortfalls in the future.

A new brief for California school district and charter school leaders is also available, Managing Public Education Resources in California During and After the Coronavirus Crisis.

For more information and guidance, watch our archived webinar series, Effective Resource Management in Response to COVID-19.

Resource Details

Product Information

Copyright: 2020
Format: PDF
Pages: 10
Publisher: WestEd