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Two Contra Costa County districts are in financial jeopardy

By Theresa Harrington
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 at 4:27 pm in Education, John Swett school district, Mt. Diablo school district.

The John Swett and Mt. Diablo school districts in Contra Costa County are among 188 statewide that have signalled in their most recent budget reports that they may not be able to pay their bills within three years.

Here is more information about the budget reports, from a California Department of Education news release:

“SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson warned today that 2.6 million California children now attend schools in districts that are in financial jeopardy—the highest number of financially troubled districts in state history.

‘This is the kind of record no one wants to set. Across California, parents, teachers, and administrators are increasingly wondering how to keep their schools’ lights on, their bills paid, and their doors open,’ Torlakson said. ‘The deep cuts this budget crisis has forced—and the uncertainties about what lies ahead—are taking an unprecedented and unacceptable toll on our schools.’

The state’s Second Interim Status Report for 2011-12 also shows a record-high 188 local educational agencies (LEAs) are either in negative or qualified financial status. That’s up 61 LEAs from the First Interim Status Report for 2011-12 issued in February, and up 45 from the Second Interim Report for 2010-11 issued a year ago.

The new report shows 12 LEAs received negative certifications and 176 received qualified certifications. Students in these 188 LEAs represent more than 2.6 million of California’s 6.2 million students attending schools in districts with serious financial challenges, up from nearly two million students in February.

Twice a year, the California Department of Education receives Notice of Interim Certifications on the financial status of the state’s 1,037 LEAs, comprised of school districts, county offices of education, and joint powers agencies. The certifications are classified as positive, qualified, or negative.

A positive certification is assigned when an LEA will meet its financial obligations for the current and two subsequent fiscal years.

A qualified certification is assigned when an LEA may not meet its financial obligations for the current or two subsequent fiscal years. This certification allows the LEA’s county office of education to provide assistance to the district.

A negative certification—the most serious of the classifications—is assigned when an LEA will be unable to meet its financial obligations for the remainder of the current year or for the subsequent fiscal year. This certification means the LEA’s county office of education may intervene in the district’s finances.

The assistance or intervention by the county office may include assigning external consultants, requiring a district fiscal recovery plan, or even disallowing certain district expenditures.

This new list is a compilation of the certifications by LEAs that were due April 16, 2012, and cover the financial and budgetary status of the districts for the period ending January 31, 2012. The certifications reflect whether the LEAs are able to meet their financial obligations for the remainder of the current fiscal year and subsequent two fiscal years, based on projections at that point in time.

These certifications predate the Governor’s May Revision to the proposed 2012-13 state budget. Because these Interim Status Reports are snapshots in time, the LEAs’ financial status may have changed since these certifications were collected.”

In the East Bay, four school districts filed “qualified” second interim reports: Emery and Oakland in Alameda County and John Swett and Mt. Diablo in Contra Costa County.

Here is a link to a list of all the negative or qualified second interim status reports for FY 2011-12: http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/fi/ir/second1112.asp

What do you think the John Swett and Mt. Diablo school districts should do to cut costs and/or raise revenues?

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  • Theresa Harrington

    While MDUSD is negotiating bonuses, state employees are looking at pay cuts: http://www.kqed.org/news/story/2012/06/01/96010/commission_cuts_pay_for_governor_legislators?category=politics

  • Anon

    Theresa # 49. I hope they do lease to Anova. Now it is clear what they are going to do. Anova has a good reputation of serving these students but they are so far away. This will not only save money on transportation but it will hopefully not cost as much to send the kids there. I think the SP. Ed. meeting that confused everyone….They will be consolidating and sending the kids to Anova and lettind the classes go in the District. This will be better for the kids.

  • Sue Berg

    TH, #50. Monthly meetings of the superintendent and the district’s labor leaders were initiated during Gary McHenry’s tenure and continued under Dick Nicoll when he was interim supt. The discussions were well-attended, open and, for the most part, frank. The Board received reports of them. I thought they were still occurring. I’m curious as to why there is a need to form an official “council” for this purpose.

  • Doctor J

    @SB#53 – Any committee or council will be subject to the Brown Act — a very good thing. Your excellent question — why didn’t they continue ? One word: Lawrence.

  • g

    [This comment has been edited to delete a reference to specific children.]

    I could be wrong, but I only know of two district kids currently attending Anova.

  • Mdusd Employee

    I know Hansen mentioned to an employees group last month that she felt that the meetings between the superintendent and employee groups were a good thing and she was going to get Lawrence to start them again.

  • g

    Dr.J, @ 54: I think what they will do may not require Brown Act adherence. It will fall under “just talking” with the employees.

    Why they need a “council”? So Lawrence can send a lackey or two plus an overpaid assistant legal head to talk for him.

  • Anon

    [This comment has been edited to delete references to specific children]

    G, I believe there are many more attending Annova …

  • g

    [This comment has been edited to delete references to specific students]

    Anon: …. I’ve not seen an indication that we have other children there.

    Whatever the circumstance, I wish all the children well. There are so many levels of Autism, many people might tend to disregard the very special needs of the very bright “Aspies” and the very high numbers of them with grave psychological problems.