Summer is just about over and school is about to start. So, how is/are the school districts that you live in doing?
Today is the first of 14 editions on the Unrestricted Net Positions (UNP) of the 939 school districts (as three pairings are combined, we will show 936). We are not including the 58 County Departments of Education or Special Districts.
We have ranked them by the Unrestricted Net Position divided by the district’s population for the per capita amount. This is your asset or, in the case of a deficit, your liability.
This year, we have already provided you with the Per Capita UNP rankings of the 50 states, 58 counties, 72 community college districts and 482 incorporated cities.
We were unable to find any repository of this particular temperature gauge of a California school district’s finances. So, we’ve compiled it ourselves. Now that defined benefit pension plan liabilities must be included in the audited financial statements, comparisons are a little more reliable. However, the financial reports for June 30, 2018, which will be released around the end of this year (hopefully), will also reflect a liability that is currently off of the books, the retiree medical unfunded liability (Other Post Employment Benefit or OPEB). If you think the numbers are disappointing for your district now, just wait until next year.
The first column indicates the position. Therefore, the lower the better. The next three columns provide the District’s name, city and county. The fifth column is the ranking of the UNP in total compared to the other Districts. Again, the lower the better. The sixth column is the population for the District. The seventh column is the UNP from the District’s most current available audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and the eighth is the per capita amount (UNP divided by population). For this column, the higher the better.
Group 1 has mostly smaller school districts, with the largest having a population of less than 29,000. For perspective, Orange County does not have any school districts with this small of a population. Of these districts, 44 of them, two-thirds of the 66, have less than 1,000 constituents.
The last few weeks of the Session are the busiest. So my life will be nuts between now and the end of August. But, I’ll try to get these out on a regular basis. Along with my staff, I also want to thank Marc Joffe from Reason Foundation for his assistance in providing access to numerous audited financial reports during this and other projects. His efforts expedited our research and I am thankful for his help.
I couldn’t leave you without an article. This one comes from the Daily Republic and also addresses the concerns about California’s Department of Transportation. It is at the bottom.
The Right Stuff: Who really benefits from higher road tax?
By Jim McCully
I believe most folks who drive realize the outsized amount we pay for fuel in our state. In fact, according to State Sen. John Moorlach of Orange County, Californians pay one of the highest fuel taxes and fees (a euphemism for tax), including hidden cap and trade “fees.” Thanks to the Democrat/Socialists/ Progressive majority party in Sacramento. Also, despite the huge taxes paid, we rank among the lowest ranked roads in our nation.
We saw our taxes go up this year but if you look at the legislation this is only a preview of coming attractions. Think voters, we pay a huge fuel tax which any logical person would believe should go to repair and maintain our extensive road and bridge system. Yet we have among the worst rated road and bridge maintenance in the nation. Why? Because we trusted current legislators.
But wait! Where did the money go? Recently I told you the seven Bay Area state bridges took in, according to the most recent available fiscal year 2016-2017, $720 million-plus in tolls, which is apparently not enough! So, we were gifted with Measure 3 which will double that amount, assuming a constant rate, in five years to $1.4 billion-plus. WOW! Can our dear leaders in Sacramento figure out how to maintain the bridges with that amount of our hard-earned tax dollars?
Our Solano County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) which, by the way, does a terrific job promoting Solano County, reported 110,000 people per day commute in and out of Solano County for work; 50,000 leave here and a large amount cross one or more bridges; and 60,000 drive into Solano. Many of these cross one or more bridges. Do you think this mismanagement impacts our economic recovery and expansion? Getting the picture?
Remember every tax dollar taken unnecessarily out of your wallet is a dollar you don’t spend on your family’s benefit. Should we all pay our fair share of taxes for the common good? Sure, we should and gladly as they benefit us all. Taxes are necessary for a civil society to function. However, the issues are how many, how much, how spent, and decided by whom?
Now after decades of mis-rule by our majority party in Sacramento, suddenly these wizards of smartness have found out the roads need to be fixed. Who knew? Now we have a sense of urgency after years of broken axels and damaged tires. Why? Simple: elections. Time to crank up the propaganda machine.
Well our Democratic Assemblyman Jim Frasier is the head of the Transportation Committee in the Assembly. Surely, he, of all legislators, has known the scope of the problem. After all, his committee oversees Caltrans.
Let’s look at one fiscal year 2015-2016: we paid the 4th highest transportation tax in America, we took in $10.4 billion (a billion is a thousand million), and Caltrans spent just 20 percent on road repair and new construction? Huh? Where did the other 80 percent go? Good question. Caltrans wasted half a billion annually on extra staffing, The Legislative Analyst’s Office reported. Caltrans was over staffed by 3,500 positions at a cost of $500 million per annum (salaries, health insurance, dental, eye, and the Public Employee Retirement System contributions).
This does nothing to improve roads but sure gets public employee union money to Democrat politicians. Always follow the money folks. If you think Solano County is immune from this stuff, guess again. California ranked 46 in rural road repair, 49 in urban interstate road condition and 46 in urban interstate congestion. Poor road conditions cost taxpayers $17 billion. Yes, voters $17 billion. That equals $702.88 per motorists. How do you like your majority party’s money management now?
Voters nothing will change unless we change it. Our infrastructure should be non-partisan but it isn’t.
Remember there is a choice about this awful waste. Our own Fairfield resident Lisa Romero is running against Frasier.
Jim McCully is the northwest regional vice chairman of the California State Republican Party and a member of the Solano County Republican Central Committee.
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