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Could California's budget shortfall mean education loses out despite being asked to reopen soon?

Claudia Briggs with the state's teacher's union said she worries the education system will lose out on billions despite Newsom wanting schools to reopen in July.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Governor Gavin Newsom announced a grim budget forecast for California, projecting a $54 billion budget shortfall stemming from the economic collapse brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

"All specifically related to COVID-19," Newsom said during his Thursday press briefing. "All specifically related to this pandemic."

This comes after the California Department of Finance released its update state budget report.

Claudia Briggs, a spokesperson with the California Teacher's Association (CTA), said she worries that means the education system will have to lose out on billions despite Newsom wanting schools to open sooner.

The CTA is the largest teacher's union in California, representing more than 300,000 teachers.

"If things don't change, or if other funding sources aren't — don't materialize, then you know that translates to approximately an $18 billion shortfall for education," Briggs said. "Which means cuts."

The CTA made these projections based on the 2019 state education budget.

This comes at a time when schools will need additional funding to open safely in the fall. State education officials announced earlier this month that schools will need to plan for personal protective equipment and make other costly modifications in order to reopen.

"This tremendous lack of funding would be devastating and would make it extremely difficult to open schools safely," Briggs explained. "And in the manner that they’re supposed to with the number of students that we have now."

Sacramento City Unified School District, which was already facing financial crisis before the pandemic, has already spent more than $6 million related to coronavirus.

They're joining schools across the state scrambling to budget and plan for the upcoming school year.

California’s Governor’s is working on a revised state budget proposal that he’s expected to announce next week.

Newsom and the CTA are pleading for financial assistance from the Federal Government to help through this crisis. Congress is currently debating that in a second coronavirus stimulus package.

"But because of this pandemic, because of what it has done, these revenue shortfalls are bigger than even the state of California," Newsom said. "We need the Federal Government to recognize this."

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Giacomo Luca.



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WATCH MORE: California Coronavirus Latest | Gov. Newsom Briefing (May 7, 2020)