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California Briefing / Statewide

Budget cuts may leave many schools insolvent

July 01, 2009|Seema Mehta

Scores of school districts across California, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, may not be able to meet their financial obligations because of state budget cuts, according to data released Tuesday by the state Department of Education. School districts must file reports showing their financial health to the state, and the number of districts that the state deems to be at risk of insolvency has quadrupled.

Nineteen districts will not be able to meet their financial obligations for the school year that just ended, or the upcoming school year, without making drastic cuts, including El Rancho Unified and Wilsona Elementary in Los Angeles County. Eighty-nine districts, including big city school systems in Los Angeles, Oakland, Santa Ana and Sacramento, are in jeopardy of not meeting their financial obligations in the school year that just ended or the two upcoming years.

"Billions of dollars of state budget cuts to education have left local school districts with deficits that local school boards and administrators are attempting to address," state Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell said in a statement.

"The decisions they have been forced to make are heartbreaking. . . . These are choices no educator in California wants to make. But the alternative is bankruptcy and entering state receivership."

-- Seema Mehta

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