California’s biannual report of schools in financial trouble shows an improvement in the number of districts at risk of running out of money over the next few years.
“I can say with growing confidence that the worst of California’s school funding crisis is behind us,” state Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson said in a written statement Monday.
The number of districts with a “negative certification” – meaning they’re unable to meet financial obligations for this year and the next two -- declined from 12 to seven. But four of them are in southern California:
- Inglewood Unified (Los Angeles County)
- Walnut Valley Unified (South Diamond Bar and Walnut)
- Wilsona Elementary (Palmdale, Lancaster, Wilsona Gardens and Lake Los Angeles)
- Victor Valley Union High (San Bernadino)
Inglewood has already been taken over by the state. As for the others, state officials cautioned that a lot has changed since the data for the report was gathered in October of last year--namely, Proposition 30, which increased taxes to benefit schools. Governor Brown's proposed budget for next fiscal year bumps up school funding based on those revenues.
Still, Torlakson's statement said, “it will take years to restore our education system to financial health.”
Another 117 districts were assigned a “qualified certification” because while they can probably meet their financial obligations for the current year, the two subsequent fiscal years don't look good.
Inglewood Unified was the first Southern California school district in nearly 20 years to lose local control over its ballooning budget deficit. The state has only taken over nine school districts for insolvency since 1990.