Record Number of School Districts In the Red

By City News Service

Twenty-seven school districts in Los Angeles County, including Los Angeles Unified, were among 188 in California — an all-time high — reporting perilous financial situations, the state Department of Education announced today.

School districts are required by the state to report three times annually on their financial condition for the current and next two fiscal years. They must give certifications on their status — positive means they can meet their financial obligations; qualified means they might have problems paying their bills; or negative, meaning they will not be able to make their payments.

The Inglewood Unified School District issued a negative certification in the second interim report to the state, while 26 other Los Angeles County schools gave qualified certifications, including Los Angeles Unified, South Pasadena Unified, Antelope Valley Union High, Lancaster Elementary, Lynwood Unified and Paramount Unified.

“Across California, parents, teachers and administrators are increasingly wondering how to keep their schools’ lights on, their bills paid and their doors open,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said. “The deep cuts this budget crisis has forced — and the uncertainties about what lies ahead — are taking an unprecedented and unacceptable toll on our schools.”

Torlakson said 2.6 million children are educated by school districts around the state that are in financial difficulty. The total of 188 districts is 61 more than listed in the first interim report, he said.

A dozen school districts, the largest being Vallejo City Unified in Northern California, issued negative certifications.

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May 24, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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