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Galt elementary school district on firmer financial ground as state revenue rises

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Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 12:00 am

Galt Joint Union Elementary School District is among districts in California that have stabilized their budgets enough to receive a clean bill of fiscal health from California education officials.

The state requires districts to demonstrate that they have enough money to meet their financial obligations for the current fiscal year, as well as two subsequent fiscal years.

As the state budget and economy improve, districts are counting on more money in the future, helping to balance their books over the next few years.

The Legislature’s adoption last week of the main budget bill should give districts more confidence that they can count on that money in the future. At the same time, Brown’s plan to overhaul the education funding system provides districts more control over their budgets.

More than half of school districts that received an early warning of fiscal problems last year are no longer in fiscal danger, according to a California Department of Education report.

The Galt elementary district is among those moved off the early-warning list.

Galt Joint Union High School District, however, is still in financial peril, receiving a “qualified” warning. That means the district may not be able to pay its bills over three consecutive fiscal years.

The number of at-risk districts spiked in previous years as tax revenue plummeted and the state slashed funding for schools. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office observed that state funding uncertainty made it difficult for districts to show that they could balance their books two years out.

In the 2006-07 school year, only 22 California school districts made the roster of the financially troubled. Last year that number had exploded to 188. This year only 92 are on the list.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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