A new State Senate study shows that the SAUSD is heading for bankruptcy

CA State Sen. John Moorlach today released his latest fiscal report, “Financial Soundness Rankings for California’s Public School Districts, Colleges & Universities.”

Some key findings from the new education report:

  • About two-thirds of California’s 944 public school districts run negative balance sheets.
  • These statements show the most distressed districts could soon reach a tipping point into insolvency and receivership.
  • Of the state’s large school districts, those in severe distress include Los Angeles Unified School District, with a negative $10.9 billion balance sheet; San Diego Unified at negative $1.5 billion; Fresno Unified at negative $849 million; and Santa Ana Unified at negative $485 million, the worst in Orange County.

Of Orange County’s 27 public school districts, only one, Fountain Valley School District, is in positive financial territory.

Here is the debt position, or UNP, of each school district in Orange County, based on their Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports:

1. Fountain Valley School District * $4 million
2. Laguna Beach Unified * -$7 million
3. Savanna Elementary -$18 million
4. Cypress Elementary -$27 million
5. Centralia Elementary -$31 million
6. Los Alamitos Unified -$32 million
7. Brea-Olinda Unified -$33 million
8. La Habra City Elementary -$41 million
9. Huntington Beach City Elem * -$44 million
10. Buena Park Elementary -$45 million
11. Magnolia Elementary -$48 million
12. Ocean View (HB) * -$79 million
13. Westminster School District -$87 million
14. Fullerton Joint Union H.S. -$91 million
15. Fullerton Elementary -$92 million
16. Huntington Beach Union H.S. * -$115 million
17. Tustin Unified * -$117 million
18. Orange Unified * -$127 million
19. Placentia Yorba-Linda Unified * -$161 million
20. Garden Grove Unified -$166 million
21. Saddleback Valley Unified * -$169 million
22. Anaheim Elementary * -$174 million
23. Irvine Unified * -$219 million
24. Newport-Mesa Unified * -$224 million
25. Anaheim Union High * -$275 million
26. Capistrano Unified * -$349 million
27. Santa Ana Unified * -$485 million

Note that the SAUSD is in last place at -$485 Million Dollars! When you look at this debt on a per capita basis it comes to $1,805 per person for everyone living in the SAUSD.

How did the SAUSD descend into such a financial disaster? Ask SAUSD Trustee John Palacio. He has been on the SAUSD School Board for twenty years and he is running for reelection again this year. After 20 years on the SAUSD School Board he owns the financial train wreck that is the SAUSD. But some folks never learn. This year Palacio is trying to pass his third school bond measure, Measure I, which will create almost a billion dollars of total school bond debt in the SAUSD. Once again Palacio is sinking our school district into even more debt!

These finances are not sustainable. Now more than ever we need to vote for new SAUSD School Board Members who will hold the district’s administration accountable.

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