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Edgewood ISD Approves Deficit Budget To Ensure Students Can Connect Remotely During Pandemic

File Photo | Joey Palacios | Texas Public Radio

Trustees for the Edgewood Independent School District approved a budget for the upcoming school year Tuesday evening with a nearly $9 million shortfall.

The $104 million budget is $8.6 million higher than the district’s expected revenue.

Most of the budget shortfall will pay for expenses brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, including $1.9 million to purchase enough tablets and laptops for every student to have a device, and $2.4 million for internet network connectivity.

Edgewood Superintendent Eduardo Hernández said it wouldn’t be responsible to give a child a device without making sure they have access to the internet.

“We are trying to live within our means. You know when I got here (two years ago) that was something I mentioned to you that I wanted to do,” Hernández told trustees before the vote. “But unfortunately right now we are in the middle of a pandemic that requires us to do what is of integrity.”

“We have the power to provide this for our students. I make no apologies because I was put in this role to represent all of the children in the district.”

| Related: San Antonio Project Aims To Connect Students To Schools Online |

Nearly 40% of households in the Edgewood school district don’t have access to the internet, according to the U.S. Census — the lowest internet access rate in Bexar County.

Edgewood has $39 million in its fund balance, leaving it with more than enough money to keep the recommended 2 and a half months of operating expenses in reserve, even after subtracting the $8.6 million shortfall.

The Edgewood school board also approved an intersessional calendar for the 2020-2021 school year Tuesday.

It adds four “learning intervention” weeks to the school year in October, January, March and June, pushing the end of the school year back to June 11.

Students who have fallen behind academically will receive instruction during those weeks while other students remain on break.

San Antonio ISD approved a similar calendar Monday.

Camille Phillips can be reached at Camille@TPR.org and on Twitter at @cmpcamille.

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