Serving the community since 1970

Wasco escapes crisis

OK despite lower ed funding: Richers

Despite the crisis in California education funding, the Wasco Elementary Unified School District is in good shape, according to Superintendent Kelly Richers.

“Thirty-two percent of the public school districts across the United States could be insolvent within the next three years,” said Richers. “As a result of Prop. 13, Pasadena, Palo Alto, Los Angeles Unified School District and the Martinez School District may become insolvent.”

Public schools in California have dropped to number 46 out of the 50 states based on what California spends on its public school education, says the institutional magazine [BEGIN ITAL]Education Weekly[END ITAL], which Richers referred to in a recent interview.

A lot has changed in education since the late 1970s when the population voted to pass Proposition 13, the Jarvis-Gann Initiative. At that time, property taxes were continuing to rise and voting homeowners were very vocal about how property taxes were making it almost impossible to stay in their homes. The connection with Jarvis-Gann is that property taxes paid for the public schools, and when they decreased, as they have since Prop. 13, so did the funding for public schools – thus the major drop from No. 1. There was hope that profits from the state lottery would help fill the gap when it was created in the 1980s.

Consequently, every year California public schools must affirm with the state that they will be financially sound for the following three years. In the last year, the WEUSD actually had a balance of $1.4 million beyond what was expected, spending $12.3 million against a forecast of $13.7 million.

For construction, the district spent $811,605 less than the $4.45 million it had forecast. It is planning on additional construction by relocating the Maintenance, Operations and Transportation building. After the building is relocated, construction will continue on the classrooms and office at Palm Avenue. The district also has allocated funds for the renovation of the two classrooms and office at Palm Avenue Elementary School.

"We are moving right along on schedule," said Richers.


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