Because of ongoing financial issues, Galt Joint Union High School District could be placed on the state’s fiscal warning list this summer, David Gordon, county superintendent of schools, told the Sacramento Bee.
The news comes as the state released its watch list Monday.
Overall, 13 area school districts made the list, down from 19 last spring. In 2009, only nine local districts were on the list, which is issued twice a year. There are no San Joaquin County school districts on the list.
The local districts join a growing number of California school districts with huge budget deficits. Schools have received $18 billion less in state funds than anticipated over the last three years.
In the 2006-07 school year, only 22 school districts throughout the state made the roster of the financially troubled. By June of last year, the number grew to 174 districts. So far this year, the state register tallies 110 schools.
State schools chief Tom Torlakson says things could get much worse if proposed tax extensions aren’t put on the ballot and approved by voters.
Gordon said he’s not sure if Sacramento County schools will be able to absorb the estimated $600 in cuts per student that districts may face if the tax plan doesn’t pass and Proposition 98, which mandates minimum state aid to schools, is suspended.
“Now they are down to the point where many of those reductions will take negotiations with their unions,” Gordon said. “You can only increase class size so much.”
Galt is among those districts that already have sent their financial paperwork for the second interim report to the county Office of Education, which offered a peek at the future list. Office of Education staff members will make the final determination on each status in the next few weeks, Gordon said.
The state will issue the second interim report later this year.
In total, nearly 2 million students — roughly 30 percent of the students in California — attend schools that are in financial jeopardy, according to the state Department of Education.
The key for school districts that make the early-warning list is to try to get their budgets in order so they can be removed. That requires that they show they have enough money to meet financial obligations for two of three years in their projected budgets.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.