Five local school districts make state watch list

April 2, 2010

Jack O'Connell

Five San Luis Obispo County school districts have been placed on California’s fiscal “watch list.” [California Watch]

Atascadero Unified, Lucia Mar Unified, Paso Robles Joint Unified, San Miguel Joint Union Elementary, and Shandon Joint Unified have all been given “Qualified Certification”  by the Office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

A designation of “Qualified Certification” is assigned to a school district when it is determined, based on current projections, that the district may not meet its financial obligations for fiscal year 2009-10, 2010-11, or 2011-12.

Overall, the number of California school districts in financial trouble is on the rise. Jack O’Connell, Superintendent of Public Instruction, announced that 126 school districts are currently on the list–an increase of 17 percent from last June.

Nine school districts in the East Bay area alone, approximately 25 percent of schools in the area made the list because they will be unable to balance their budgets during the next three years without substantial budget cuts.

O’Connell, who lives in San Luis Obispo and is a former state senator, wants financial relief from the governor and the Legislature for public education.

“Massive state budget cuts are crippling our public school system’s ability to operate,” O’Connell said. “Districts are now forced to lay off even more teachers and make deep cuts to educational programs to address projected budget shortfalls or possible possible bankruptcy and state receivership.”

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At the same time, our huge tax spending Cal Trans continues to pay to spread fancy bark chips along 101 in Paso. Our state leaders have their priorities so effed up they can hardly see straight. Even our county is wasting money. I have seen 3 county workers patching small holes on remote roads that didn’t need to be fixed. The workers go find some remote place to hide while we pay their salary. Put me in charge and I would fire every state employee, cancel all unions then begin the rehire process for people who want to work for a fair pay and make THEM save for retirement, pay portions of their family’s health care and actually be productive each and every day. The waste is the problem. If every one of us started to document each time we see a gov’t employee wasting time on our dollar, we should document it and find their supervisor. Being productive with WWII got this county out of the last big mess. This time we need to do it on our own. Lazy gov’t employees don’t cut it.

San Miguel? Perhaps stop paying Dean Smith full pay unitl June would help. Pleaseant Valley, San Miguel and Shandon should all be consolidated into 1 school district …..One superintendent and administrative support. That would save upwards of $100,000.00.

Massive state budget cuts ARE NOT crippling the public school system’s ability to operate. The school system’s inability to operate is in fact causing the need for massive state budgets.