April 8, 2013
State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Returns
Local Control to Vallejo City Unified School District
SACRAMENTO—The Vallejo City Unified School District has completed the last of the steps necessary to regain local control after a state emergency loan led to receivership almost eight years ago, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.
The district went into state receivership in June 2004, when then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 1190, authorizing up to $60 million in emergency state loans to help the district continue serving students. The loan must be repaid to the state within 20 years, or by 2024.
Vallejo City Unified is one of nine school districts to have received an emergency loan since 1990 and is the seventh to return to local governance. In these instances, the law requires the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to assume all the legal rights, duties, and powers of the governing board of the district and appoint a state administrator. The school district's elected governing board continues serving in an advisory capacity until a number of conditions are met. This process was begun under former Superintendent Jack O'Connell and continued under Torlakson.
"This is a good day for Vallejo City Unified, for the state and, most importantly, for the students and communities we serve," Torlakson said. "I am delighted to see the district return to financial solvency and local control while also improving educational and professional opportunities—and doing all of this during one of the most challenging economic periods in the state's history."
Over the past few years, Vallejo City Unified has made changes leading to the regaining of local governance in four areas: community relations and governance, personnel management, pupil achievement, and facilities management. Monday marks the return of local governance in the fifth and final area: financial management. A state-appointed trustee will continue working with the local school board as it regains governance. The trustee has the power to veto any decision that has a negative fiscal impact.