An emailed threat that forced the Tuesday closure of all Los Angeles schools cost the school district at least $29 million and also caused the city to take a financial hit, officials said.
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) shut down more than 1,500 school buildings and told more than 655,000 students to stay home Tuesday over a threat of violence. Schools reopened Wednesday after the FBI concluded it wasn’t credible, according to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Rep. Adam Schiff said the threat was a “hoax to disrupt school districts in large cities.”
Regardless, the mass closure means the school district could be shorted millions of dollars in state funding. Officials at LAUSD, the second-largest school district in the U.S., put the losses at roughly $29 million. But the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said Wednesday that number might actually be closer to $50 million, citing two California law penalties: loss of average daily attendance and loss of instructional minutes.
The final number is “up in the air right now,” a spokeswoman for the state superintendent said. City officials are also unsure how much the unprecedented mass school closures impacted Los Angeles.
“Undoubtedly, there were some costs to the city, and it’s really impossible to know the costs right now,” Councilman Paul Krekorian’s spokesman Ian Thompson told TIME.
Thompson said the bulk of expenses from the closures likely came from the Los Angeles Police Department in overtime costs and traffic safety operations. LAPD spokeswoman Liliana Preciado said Wednesday those numbers from the department were not yet available.
It’s also unclear how much money Los Angeles lost from the estimated high number of parents who may have missed work to care for their children. Economist Jesse David, who heads the Los Angeles office for Edgeworth Economics, said factors such as the number of children affected, their ages, whether they come from single-parent homes and their parents’ salaries go into finding out that figure, but that likely won’t be determined for a while.
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