Up to two thirds of California school districts face insolvency

California's public school system is being battered through a combination of forces that may ultimately conspire to destroy it. Across the state, schools have been struggling to come up with their legally required balanced budgets, forcing tens of thousands of the state's teachers out of their jobs. At the same time, cost of living increases are putting strain on the schools' funding, as student populations are reduced and families leave the area.

Pensions are a problem

The incredibly high pensions that many of the state's retired teachers are entitled to receive are quickly morphing into a potentially fatal calamity. With many of the state's teachers currently receiving or soon eligible to receive six-figure pensions, the strain being placed on an already badly underfunded pension system is proving to be a serious burden on the state's operational budgets. The state of California itself is currently being force to spend more than a quarter of its total revenue on making up for pension shortfalls, a number that should theoretically be zero.

But the outrageous sums being doled out to the state's retired teachers is putting even more strain on local school districts. One example is the San Jose Unified school district, which is obligated to pay tens of millions of dollars per year to fund teacher pensions. This year, the district was unable to balance its budget. As a result, it is cutting services, such as busing and after-school programs. 150 of the district's employees, a substantial portion of its total workforce, will not have their contracts renewed in September.

A similar, even more dire situation is taking place just up the Bay. The San Bruno Public School District, located in Palo Alto, has currently been designated by the state as being at imminent risk of insolvency. Typical of many public school districts in the state, it has lost a large number of students, thus reducing the funding it receives from the state. The costs of living in Palo Alto, the most expensive area in the United States, have been rocketing upwards for the better part of two decades.

While most of the area's rich residents send their children to private schools, the public schools are primarily used by minority and disadvantaged children. But many of these children can no longer afford to remain in the area, due to sky-high rent and other living costs. Many such school districts are facing collapse, as a result.

Article Link: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/07/02/tidal-wave-of-expenses-in-looming-...


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