Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the school district's need for laptops. Superintendent Jorge Aguilar was asked on Monday how many laptops the district needed. He responded that there were 12,000 available and the district was waiting for 19,000 more to arrive. The district estimates it will need 26,000 total. We have updated our story and headline to reflect this.
Online schooling has begun in the Sacramento City Unified School District. It’s handed out 12,000 laptops to students. But teachers and administrators are awaiting shipment of another 19,000, for a total of 31,000 to have on hand to offer to students who don’t have online access.
The district believes the demand for laptops won’t exceed that amount. Superintendent Jorge Aguilar says the current estimate is 26,000 in need. He says the transition from classroom to online education is going to be “bumpy.”
“This week is going to feel like the start of a new school year when teachers are checking in with their students. They’re assessing their needs,” Aguilar said Monday during a video conference call. “They’re trying to determine what is the best way of communicating with students and with our families as well.”
He says more laptops have been ordered, but Google has been overwhelmed with orders. He says he understands the need to get technology to the kids who need it.
“We again are very focused on making sure that we are proving the right building blocks for students to finish off the year in a way that helps them get closer to grade-level proficiency or certainly doesn’t allow them to regress any further than where they may have been,” Aguilar said.
Sacramento County schools officially closed March 16 to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Gov. Gavin Newsom and State Superintendent Tony Thurmond have advised school not to resume in-person instruction this school year.
The district is in danger of being taken over by the state because of its finances. Aguilar says the district is using a 2012 school bond measure Measure Q funds earmarked for technology to buy the laptops.
Last week district officials announced it would begin a distance learning plan this week despite not reaching an agreement with the Sacramento City Teachers Association on how to implement it.
McGeorge School of Law professor Robert Hawley says that’s legal, but the district must keep the union informed.
“They have to meet and confer with the union and negotiate or talk to the union about the effects at least on the employees,” Hawley said.
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