March 4, 2013
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Reports
Smaller Number of Districts in Financial Jeopardy
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson reported today that 500,000 fewer California students attend school districts in financial jeopardy now than last May, though an unacceptably high number of districts still face deep fiscal challenges.
The state's First Interim Status Report for 2012-13 shows that 124 local educational agencies (LEAs) serving 2.1 million students are in either a negative or qualified certification, down from the 188 LEAs serving 2.6 million students reported in Second Interim Status Report for 2011-12 issued in May 2012.
"I can say with growing confidence that the worst of California's school funding crisis is behind us," Torlakson said. "As this report demonstrates, it will take years to restore our education system to financial health. No one was happy to see California slip to 49th in per-pupil funding, and no one should be satisfied when we move up to 46th or 47th."
The new report shows seven LEAs received a negative certification, and 117 received a qualified certification.
Twice a year, the California Department of Education receives Notice of Interim Certifications on the financial status of the state's 1,043 LEAs comprising school districts, county offices of education, and joint powers agencies. The certifications are classified as either positive, qualified, or negative.
A positive certification is assigned when a LEA will meet its financial obligations for the current and two subsequent fiscal years.
A qualified certification is assigned when a LEA may not meet its financial obligations for the current or two subsequent fiscal years. This certification allows the LEA's county office of education to provide assistance to the district.
A negative certification—the most serious of the classifications—is assigned when a LEA will be unable to meet its financial obligations for the remainder of the current year or for the subsequent fiscal year. This certification means the LEA's county office of education may intervene in the district's finances.
The assistance or intervention by the county office of education may include assigning external consultants, requiring a district fiscal recovery plan, or even disallowing certain district expenditures.
This new list is a compilation of the certifications by LEAs that were due December 15, 2012, and which cover the financial and budgetary status of the LEAs for the period ending October 31, 2012. The certifications reflect whether the LEAs are able to meet their financial obligations for the remainder of the current fiscal year and subsequent two fiscal years, based on projections at that point in time.
Because these Interim Status Reports are snapshots in time, the LEAs' financial status may have changed since these certifications were collected.
For more information on the school funding crisis, please visit the California Department of Education's School Financial Emergency Web page. [Note: The link to the School Financial Emergency Web page is no longer active.]
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100