Governor Gavin Newsom joined the CSEA Board of Directors videoconference meeting on Friday. Before answering questions from board members, he expressed his gratitude and support for classified school employees and the work they are doing during the COVID-19 crisis.
“I want to extend my gratitude and appreciation to all of you for the incredible work you are doing every single day,” Newsom said. “Delivering meals, all the incredible custodial work, bus drivers that are delivering those meals themselves and so many other support staff functions that so often get overlooked and underappreciated.”
Without hesitation, Newsom addressed some of the immediate concerns facing CSEA members, including personal protective equipment (PPE) for essential workers. He said that he wants to make sure school staff have the gear they need to stay safe and healthy. He also said that while California has already distributed 42 million N-95 masks, that’s still “totally inadequate.” He said the state will be investing another $1.4 billion in PPE over the next few months with initial shipments due to arrive by the first week of May.
“As soon as I get those in, it will provide us with the capacity to provide not only for our frontline employees at the hospitals, community clinics and skilled nursing facilities, but then extend to you and your members the ability to access important, special facemasks, glove sets, N-95s, not just surgical masks,” he said.
The Governor said he wanted to hear from CSEA members directly and continued by taking questions from CSEA Board members. He responded with thoughtful answers on the state budget and financial outlook. He also offered his expectation that school districts must hold up their end of the labor-management framework, which was recently established to provide guidance during school closures.
“It’s not lost on me,” Newsom said. “You guys have made it crystal clear to me. We don’t do enough for our teachers, but you know what—if we don’t do enough for our teachers, my gosh, we don’t even come close to scratching the surface of your members and celebrating their contributions. If you can just extend my personal gratitude to each and every one of them. Let them know that they matter, and we care. We want to be as supportive as we can going forward.”