$1 billion in one-time funding for education is great but districts need more

The new Governor's budget should alleviate some of the burden for some, with debt-ridden schools in California being at the top of the list. (June 14, 2017)

Debt-ridden schools in California have been desperate for more funding.

The governor's budget hopes to alleviate some of the need with a one-time funding of $1 billion.

The money will be distributed equally on a per student basis averaging to about $150 per student where before the average was roughly 48-dollars a student. President of Capitol Advisors Group Kevin Gordon said this is something to be grateful for. 

"The one time money is great for the next fiscal year but there will be question marks in the year or two after that," Gordon said. 

He represents school districts across the state looking into their interests at the Capitol and in policy. Gordon's group represents all of the schools in Sacramento County. He said the governor is moving in the right direction with this upcoming budget but agrees there needs to be a long term solution to help districts get out of debt. 

"All in all, a really decent budget for this year compared to what most school districts were expecting in January," Gordon added. 

On a local level, this specific money will not make a huge impact. Sacramento Unified Chief Information Officer Alex Barrios told ABC10's Anne Di Grazia that the district has a $12 million deficit. 

"One time money helps us pay down debt which is what we need to do in this district is pay down debt," he said. 

The Sac Unified is one of the larger districts in the state with 48,000 students and 1,800 teachers. Barrios said although they are larger, the debt is normal for most districts in California. 

"Our school district is not unique, we have to pay more now in PERS and STRS contributions, that is the retirement for our retired teachers and employees," Barrios added. 

In January, the Governor said the $1 billion one-time payment would be distributed in 2019 but the plan changed recently to distribute the monies this year. Although this is a good move for the school district, Barrios hopes a consistent funding source is in the near future. 

"For all the work we do in the school district, the amount of cost we have to provide services, this is just a drop in the bucket," he said. 

The budget will also add nearly $1.5 billion in specialized funding for K through 12 education and community colleges.

The final vote on the budget is expected Thursday. It would set more money aside for the rainy day fund, expanding a tax credit, and investing more money in education which includes low income students and teacher shortages as well as social services. 

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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