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State funding huge concern for local schools

By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn area school districts expect huge deficits next school year, and administrators are sounding off about their state funding concerns. The Journal spoke with nine school districts in the area to get a picture of each one’s financial outlook. Of all the districts, Alta-Dutch Flat School District has the lowest planned deficit for next year: $110,748. Auburn Union School District has the highest deficit planned at $1.4 million. The Auburn Union School District has issued 14 tentative layoff slips this year, but three districts haven’t had to issue any. A parcel tax expected to raise $4 million for the Auburn Union School District over five years failed at the polls in November and classes throughout the district are raising funds for their schools, but it isn’t nearly enough. Kathleen Daugherty, superintendent of Newcastle Elementary School District, said a major concern in public education is the state’s lack of funding. “Although we still have a positive certification with a healthy reserve (in Newcastle Elementary School District), it is unbelievably hard to continue to operate under the current conditions of ‘educate our kids and create 21st century global citizens now, and we will/may pay you sometime in the future,’” Daugherty said. “The state is forcing us to do with the apportionment deferrals and apportionment reductions. We are being asked to do more with less, and choose what parts of programs to keep and which to give up. In addition we have to attend to the safety and upkeep of our facilities.” Fred Adam, superintendent of Colfax Elementary School District and Placer Hills Union School District, said he wants residents to understand how much money schools are getting from the state currently. “I just think it’s important that the community understands where we are in the state budget,” Adam said. “That in public schools in California right now the level of funding is back to the level that was provided in (the) 2007/2008 (school year), but we are not even getting that.” School district administrators said their future finances are relatively unknown at this point, because they are dependent on voter approval or disapproval of statewide tax extensions on the June ballot. For more information on your school district, see our school district budget chart link at the bottom of this page. Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com