Imperial County Office of Education speaks about possible cuts to K-through-12 districts
Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget cuts to higher education aside, his promise to avoid cuts on kindergarten- through 12th-grade education hinges on a tax extension vote in June, according to a press release from American Enterprise Institute.
If voters reject the tax extension, school districts could face an additional $4 billion to $5 billion in cuts before classes begin for the 2011-2012 school year, according to the release. This comes after the 14.5 percent loss of K-through-12 funds California schools have taken since 2007.
“Those cuts to education have been huge, coming down to multibillion dollars worth of cuts as well as cash deferrals in the billions of dollars,” said Imperial County Office of Education assistant superintendent Arnold Preciado in an interview Monday.
Preciado said the plans put in place by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, which included allowing school districts to transfer categorical funds into general funds and sweeping balances of those programs into the next year’s general fund for a one-time fix, are what Brown is proposing to extend.
He said if the tax extension is passed by voters, local school districts may only lose $1.3 million collectively. If voters shoot down the extension, local districts would lose $12.6 million.
Preciado said the issue for school districts is to maintain a healthy cash balance in order to do business and stay afloat.
Currently cash funds from the state are being deferred by 28.5 percent, or $43.9 million, locally from Imperial County schools.
With Gov. Brown’s proposal to defer another $2.1 billion in cash statewide from 2011-2012 to be paid in 2012-2013, $11.8 million would be deferred from local school districts.
This would put more stress on already taut school budgets, Preciado said, as an average of 65 percent of school districts budgets in Imperial County come from the state.
“So if we’re deferring the majority of our funds then it’s going to hurt,” he said.
Preciado said the ICOE is asking school districts to plan ahead in case the tax extension is not voted for by the taxpayers.
“I have full confidence in our school districts to do what is necessary to weather the storm,” he said.
Staff Writer Roman Flores can be reached at 760-337-3439 or email@example.com