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Galt Joint Union High School District may land on financial watch list

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Posted: Thursday, March 24, 2011 6:25 am | Updated: 6:51 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

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.

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  • Doug Chaney posted at 9:15 am on Fri, Mar 25, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    With the new census count out, both Galt and Lodi should be more representative in the number of ethnic minorities when it comes to government, city staff and jobs and all committees, with Galt being an ethnic minority city and Lodi not far behind.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 9:12 am on Fri, Mar 25, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    That's just where I was going with that question. Thanks for a candid opinion. The elections you refer to as far as keeping those 3 controlling votes is the same method used by the controllers in Lodi to keep those same 3 controlling votes on their city council, Hansen, Johnson and Katzakian. Weren't it for Mr. Nakanishi having name recognition and enough campaign funds to mount a good campaign, Lodi could have 4 amigos instead of 3.

  • Patrick W Maple posted at 5:29 pm on Thu, Mar 24, 2011.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1804

    I agree, but I would go one step further...combine all of the small feeder districts under one Board and save about $2M in funding. People have on several occasions tried to get a movement to join the two local school districts but have been unsuccessful for various reasons. One being that the Ag Dept manages to get 3 people elected to the HS Board each cycle by spend $20K or so dollars in campaign funding and manpower. The are a force to be reckoned with. They do not want anyone messing up their good thing. When there was a non-partisan Board, the students excelled...and we were NOT on the verge of being taken over by the state!

  • Doug Chaney posted at 3:54 pm on Thu, Mar 24, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Mr. Maple, why does Galt have both an elementary and high school district? What is the advantage besides more administration, staff and large salaries and benefits for two sets of administrators, staff, etc?

  • Patrick W Maple posted at 3:23 pm on Thu, Mar 24, 2011.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1804

    This is exactly what we (myself and many others) have been harping about for the past 5 years! Clowns running a circus. Some people don't like me...heck, sometimes I don't even like myself, but I have chronicled the downfall of the Galt High School District for the past 5 years and despite the warning, here we are! Galt will soon be taken over by the State and if you think austere applies to the classes now...just wait. Art Oelsner and Diane Kitamura should either immediately resign or be recalled. Enough is enough! Just wait until the test scores come out !!!



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