LOS ANGELES - Superintendent Austin Beutner announced Tuesday that the Los Angeles Unified School District will invest $1 million to support students experiencing homelessness and those who are part of the foster-care system.
The program will provide a supervised place to study, access to child care and one-on-one tutoring, additional instructional materials and other support. Packages with surge outlets, noise-canceling headphones, school supplies and additional items, including personal protective equipment, will be provided to help children and their families.
The district entered into an agreement with Verizon in March for broadband access at a reduced cost, which officials are providing to students and their families for free. In May, the agreement was amended to enable participation by K-12 schools throughout the state of California. Under the amended agreement, Verizon is providing a per-subscriber contract administration allowance to Los Angeles Unified based on the usage of the agreement elsewhere in California. To date, this allowance has exceeded $1 million.
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"The best chance to break this cycle of poverty, homelessness and challenges in the foster care system is to provide all the support we can to children now," Beutner said. "The needs of these children have been made even greater during this crisis brought about by COVID-19. The money provided by the innovative agreement with Verizon is being used to support our students with highest needs."
Officials say an estimated 25% of the almost 700,000 students in Los Angeles Unified are from households that lack broadband access.
In the last school year, the official count of students experiencing homelessness in schools throughout Los Angeles Unified was almost 20,000, with an additional 10,000 students in foster care.