Schools brace for brutal 20% (or greater) slash to funding as coronavirus crashes economies; Doc’s face validity check in; Washington State’s “report your neighbors” website; the basics of school funding; austerity measures for the 2020-2021 school year; what will get cut; what will get funded; what happens to school safety? HOW ARE SCHOOLS FUNDED? There are three main sources for school funding: federal, state and local. Schools receive roughly $12,000 per student per year. About half of that is funded by the state, 40% from local property taxes, and 10% from federal funds. Schools are funded for the fiscal year that begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. UNPRECEDENTED FUNDING CUTS FOR 2020-21. Doc notes that several sources have informed his statement that K-12 public schools in America will receive 20% less funding than the current year. He describes the variables in play that could cushion that figure or exacerbate it, such as use of fund balance, declining enrollment, tax-deferred business districts, or taxpayers demanding extreme austerity measures at the school district’s annual meeting - which is when the school board sets the tax rate for its homeowners and businesses. WHAT WILL BE CUT. More than 80% of school expenses are staff salary and benefits. As states rush to reduce the number of required student-contact days from 180 to 140 (or fewer), staff compensation contracts would subsequently be reduced by at least 20%. Everything is on the table. Expect the deepest cuts to be in these areas: Maintenance and unencumbered building projects; support staff; bus drivers; kitchen staff; office staff; athletic directors/coaches; public/community relations positions; staff professional development; and student mental health. IMPACT ON SCHOOL SAFETY. School safety is a $3 billion a year industry with 80% spent annually on fences, bollards, barricades, window films and surveillance. Expect school safety funding to plummet by 50% - and if students do not return to in-person schools, that figure will be closer to 75% as schools won’t fund bullying, harassment or threat reporting systems. School safety is important, but it will be heavily de-funded in this time of education austerity. WHAT WILL GET FUNDED? Virtual learning platforms; technology staff, individual Chromebooks, iPads and Hot Spots; Programs to train parents how to use technology; and a myriad of devices having to do with sanitizing from germ-zapping robots, hands-Free 3D printed door openers that can be operated with a stylus, and antimicrobial coating for door handles, chairs, desks, lunch tables, light switches - pretty much everything. CUSTOMER PERCEIVED VALUE LED TO $100,000 GERM-ZAPPING ROBOTS in 2016. In an article I wrote in August for Crisis Response Journal, I noted that On September 18, 2014, President Obama issued an executive order combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria - or MRSA. The pesky was showing up in school locker rooms, gyms, fitness centers, etc. -- think of flesh-eating infection. That’s not exactly it - but close enough. A few wealthy districts are spending tens of thousands of dollars on special machines that kill MRSA on desks, door handles and fitness room equipment. A $100,000 germ-zapping robot named ‘Gronk’ is helping to kill MRSA at a Massachusetts High School (Perrodin, 2019). 350 of these robots were sold to hospitals, medical facilities and schools across the country. FOLLOW DR. PERRODIN: Twitter @SafetyPhD and subscribe to The Safety Doc YouTube channel & Apple Podcasts. SAFETY DOC WEBSITE & BLOG: The Safety Doc Podcast is hosted & produced by David Perrodin, PhD. ENDORSEMENTS. Opinions are those of the host & guests. The show adheres to nondiscrimination principles while seeking to bring forward productive discourse & debate on topics relevant to personal or institutional safety. This is episode 126 of The Safety Doc Podcast and was recorded and published on March 31, 2020.

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