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California Department of Education News Release
Release: #14-28
March 19, 2014
Contact: Giorgos Kazanis
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief to Protect Funding Levels for Schools
Seeing Drop in Attendance Because of Drought Emergency

FRESNO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is using his administrative authority to maintain school funding levels for districts that have seen significant numbers of students and their families forced to miss school or move away because of the ongoing drought emergency, he announced in California's Central Valley today.

"Some impacts of the drought seem obvious as we see water levels drop while fire risks and food prices climb," Torlakson said. "But one of the less obvious impacts is happening every day in our classrooms, where empty desks reflect children whose families could no longer find work on the farms and ranches of the Central Valley."

California Education Code authorizes the Superintendent to grant normal average daily attendance (ADA) funding and instructional time credit for days on which schools are forced to close or are open with reduced attendance because of emergency conditions. California funds school districts based on ADA, which is calculated by dividing the total number of days of student attendance by the number of days of school taught during the same period.

Emergency conditions might include flood, earthquake, impassable roads, or some other conditions. Torlakson announced the addition of the drought to this list of emergency conditions today while hearing firsthand from superintendents in the Central Valley—an area largely dependent on the agriculture industry—and touring schools and meeting with educators and community members.

Over the next few months, the California Department of Education (CDE) will work with local educational agencies (LEAs) that can demonstrate that they have a decline in attendance related to the drought emergency. With this information in hand, Torlakson will grant attendance credit to ensure these districts are held harmless from revenue losses that would otherwise result from the drought emergency.

In January, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., declared the drought an emergency in California. Earlier this month, he signed pieces of bipartisan legislation that support drought relief, including money for workers directly impacted by the drought, bond funds for local communities, funding for emergency drinking water supplies, and efforts to reduce fire risk.

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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