MOORLACH UPDATE — School District Rankings, Nos. 189-282 — September 23, 2019

The California Globe picked up my piece suggesting a Dirty Baker’s Dozen bills that are veto-worthy, which I published in Saturday’s FlashReport and appears again in today’s edition (see MOORLACH UPDATE — 2019 Veto-Worthy Bills and Second 94).

If I were to make one overall generalization of how Sacramento’s supermajority party has been conducting its policy decisions, it would be this: correct symptoms, wrong solutions. Coming to the wrong conclusion after reviewing the facts is a sad sight to behold. In the first piece below, the California Globe focuses on one of them: Charter Schools. Symptom: there is a financial crisis in public schools. Incorrect solution: it must be Charter Schools, so limit them.

School Districts — Numbers 189 to 282

The third group is the second piece below, and it includes, from Orange County districts, Fullerton Joint Union High at #269.

California’s Financial Future Looking Shaky After 2019 Legislative Session

‘We are at debt capacity!’

By Katy Grimes

https://californiaglobe.com/section-2/californias-financial-future-looking-shaky-after-2019-legislative-session/

‘California’s unrestricted net deficit grew by 25 percent in the last year alone’

Following the close of the 2019 legislative session, Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) provided a listing of “California’s Dirty Baker’s Dozen: Veto-Worthy Policy Proposals that Shouldn’t Be Law.”

Many of these bills California Globe covered extensively during the year:

  • AB 44 – the ban on fur
  • SB 1 – the “Trump Resist” bill which would threaten California’s water supply
  • AB 5 – the bill to take over and unionize the rideshare business and related gig economy
  • SB 276 & SB 714 – the mandatory vaccine bills removing doctors medical exemptions, and
  • AB 1482 – ignoring voters recent rejection of a statewide rent control initiative, AB 1482 imposes one anyway

Sen. Moorlach, a Certified Public Accountant by profession, regularly addresses the state’s huge and growing debt. He warns his lawmaker colleagues during committee hearings on taxing and spending bills. He warns them during Senate floor debate before voting on these bills. Yet these bad spending bills continue to be passed by a Legislature apparently unconcerned about the future financial stability of the state.

Most notably, Moorlach recently warned that California’s unrestricted net deficit grew by 25 percent in the last year alone. Moorlach explains that the unrestricted net asset (or deficit) is a summary of the state’s available assets after removing from the balance sheet fixed assets (buildings, parks, roads, etc.) minus outstanding debt obligations for these fixed assets.

Specifically, Moorlach warns about AB 48 by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), which will place a $15 billion K-12 through higher education facilities bond on the March 2020 ballot. “We Are At Debt Capacity!” Moorlach said. “California’s Unrestricted Net Deficit grew by $43.8 billion in the last year alone, from $169.5 to $213.3 billion (a 25 percent increase!). If it were not for New Jersey, the Golden State would have the largest deficit of all the 50 states. California needs to improve its balance sheet before it takes on more bond debt, regardless of how noble the cause for the bond proceeds. With rising pension costs, a volatile income tax system, and a potential recession on the horizon, adding more than $700 million in new annual debt payments to the state’s general fund budget may result in additional requests for more taxes and/or significant budget cuts in future years. When California has a supposed budget surplus this year, more debt and taxes make no sense.”

Another big concern are the charter school elimination bills: AB 1505, by Assemblymembers O’Donnell, Bonta, McCarty & Smith, and co-authored by the the powerful state teachers union California Teachers Association, and AB 1507, by Assemblymembers Smith, McCarty, and O’Donnell.

A powerful liaison of aggressive teacher unions and politicians supported by them produced the bills which threaten to destroy California’s wildly popular and successful charter schools, and the 630,000 school children who benefit from them. The bills would cap the number of charter schools in the state, and limit the ability of charter-school organizers to appeal anti-charter decisions by often union-controlled local school boards to county and state boards of education.

“Edging Toward Charter School Elimination: These bills effectively impose a moratorium on charter schools and limit the number and locations of resource centers that a charter school may operate, anticipating their total elimination in California,” Moorlach said. “Neither bill makes any sense to anyone, except those who wish to eliminate charter schools as competition to the incumbent monopoly of traditional public schools over a blended learning or personalized learning environment.”

Moorlach ranked California’s school districts by their cumulative unrestricted net deficit (listing below). He notes “the cumulative unrestricted net deficit for the year ended June 30, 2017 was $50.6 billion. A year later, for the year ended June 30, 2018, it is $70.8 billion. The requirement of including Other Post-Employment Benefits is the main reason the total deficit has grown by $20 billion, or 40 percent, in the last year!”

Limiting California school children’s choices will be costly in many ways, but especially in poor and minority school communities. Charter schools in California have had a very tough time because of teacher union resistance, says Lance Izumi, Director of Education Studies at the Pacific research Institute. Izumi warned that AB 1505 will impose even higher hurdles for charter schools.

AB 1505 changes current California law, which requires proposed charter schools to have 1) financial viability, and 2) a sound academic program. The bill adds in a third criteria: the fiscal impact of the proposed charter school on the school district. If this fiscal impact is found to be negative, the school board can deny the charter school. “Given that most school districts will be able to find some type of financial impact of the proposed charter on that district, it’s going to be used to stifle any creation of charter schools throughout California,” Izumi said. “For charter schools to ‘drain’ public schools of funding, one must assume that students are the property of the regular public schools.”

“Parents and their children voluntarily choose to go to charter schools because charters often perform better, children are safer, and charters offer the type of curriculum and personalized learning that students want,” Izumi said in an interview earlier this year. And really, Izumi says the answer is easy: “School districts can keep students from leaving the regular public schools by simply doing a better job of educating them. It’s within their control.”

Yet, Izumi said charter schools really have no fiscal impact on school districts. His research concurs with Sen. Moorlach’s: the causes of school districts in fiscal distress is found in union contracts negotiated by local school boards, as well as high pension costs and retiree health care. “These are self-inflicted wounds,” Izumi says. “Using charter schools as scapegoats by districts in financial distress is factually wrong and diverts attention from the real causes, which is these actions by the school districts and the boards which approve things they cannot afford.”

Rank School District Population Per Cap 2017 Chg County
189 Guerneville Elementary 5,298 ($296) 252 63
190 Vallecito Union 10,315 ($298) 291 101
191 Trona Joint Unified 1,992 ($299) 3 -188
192 San Benito High 53,901 ($302) 209 17
193 Petaluma City Schools 108,166 ($303) 310 117
194 Wilmar Union Elementary 3,402 ($307) 212 18
195 Corning Union High 17,298 ($318) 353 158
196 Sebastopol Union Elementary 12,192 ($320) 185 -11
197 Surprise Valley Joint Unified 1,164 ($323) 173 -24
198 Pacheco Union Elementary 8,776 ($325) 202 4
199 Pioneer Union Elementary 1,581 ($325) 268 69
200 Oak Grove Union Elementary 5,200 ($328) 183 -17
201 Horicon Elementary 1,712 ($329) 205 4
202 La Honda-Pescadero Unified 3,719 ($331) 61 -141
203 Hanford Joint Union High 68,472 ($335) 179 -24
204 Lewiston Elementary 1,552 ($335) 226 22
205 Banta Elementary 5,663 ($338) 215 10
206 Tamalpais Union High 117,152 ($338) 200 -6
207 Rio Dell Elementary 3,508 ($341) 216 9
208 Pacific Union Elementary 4,847 ($343) 207 -1
209 Bella Vista Elementary 3,840 ($343) 234 25
210 Dunsmuir Elementary 2,091 ($346) 270 60
211 Willow Creek Elementary 635 ($350) 296 85
212 Westside Elementary 1,409 ($354) 723 511
213 Springville Union Elementary 3,992 ($359) 244 31
214 Pleasant Ridge Union Elementary 20,804 ($359) 256 42
215 Wright Elementary 17,715 ($360) 227 12
216 Mt. Shasta Union Elementary 7,068 ($363) 290 74
217 Liberty Elementary 2,124 ($364) 254 37
218 Southside Elementary 1,915 ($374) 274 56
219 Santa Cruz City Schools 188,916 ($377) 220 1
220 Ballard Elementary 1,513 ($378) 137 -83
221 Bellflower Unified 84,178 ($380) 298 77
222 Pioneer Union Elementary 5,628 ($382) 299 77
223 Fallbrook Union High 67,486 ($383) 288 65
224 Julian Union Elementary 4,353 ($386) 153 -71
225 Jefferson Union High 153,271 ($387) 211 -14
226 South Bay Union Elementary 7,022 ($388) 340 114
227 Brawley Union High 29,958 ($389) 196 -31
228 Kern High 634,352 ($389) 253 25
229 Semitropic Elementary 371 ($390) 72 -157
230 Red Bluff Joint Union High 43,298 ($393) 452 222
231 Nicasio Unified School District 728 ($393) 361 130
232 Old Adobe Union 26,769 ($395) 188 -44
233 Jefferson Elementary 93,171 ($396) 192 -41
234 Romoland Elementary 26,829 ($401) 903 669
235 Grenada Elementary 1,035 ($401) 433 198
236 Goleta Union Elementary 80,388 ($404) 265 29
237 Snelling-Merced Falls Union Elem 720 ($406) 65 -172
238 Feather Falls Union Elementary 414 ($406) 141 -97
239 Northern Humboldt Union High 45,079 ($406) 249 10
240 Yreka Union Elementary 9,707 ($410) 346 106
241 Scotts Valley Unified 18,579 ($412) 450 209
242 Santa Rita Union Elementary 23,795 ($414) 300 58
243 Delano Joint Union High 74,502 ($416) 198 -45
244 San Bruno Park Elementary 39,068 ($419) 229 -15
245 Mountain Elementary 1,353 ($421) 318 73
246 Big Oak Flat-Groveland Unified 5,230 ($422) 293 47
247 Auburn Union Elementary 36,523 ($423) 314 67
248 Solvang Elementary 6,058 ($424) 309 61
249 Lemoore Union High 38,047 ($424) 269 20
250 Piner-Olivet Union Elementary 16,561 ($425) 284 34
251 Washington Colony Elementary 3,030 ($426) 409 158
252 Ducor Union Elementary 1,336 ($428) 363 111
253 Lake Elementary 419 ($432) 87 -166
254 Bret Harte Union High 19,646 ($432) 259 5
255 East Side Union High 569,455 ($433) 214 -41
256 Big Valley Joint Unified 1,626 ($433) 162 -94
257 Galt Joint Union High 40,727 ($438) 307 50
258 Earlimart Elementary 11,139 ($443) 177 -81
259 Richfield Elementary 1,202 ($445) 446 187
260 Columbia Elementary 9,908 ($454) 222 -38
261 Merced Union High 177,642 ($454) 260 -1
262 El Dorado Union High 142,706 ($456) 285 23
263 Rincon Valley Union Elementary 42,067 ($460) 257 -6
264 Solana Beach Elementary 40,364 ($463) 250 -14
265 West Sonoma County Union High 49,457 ($465) 233 -32
266 Mother Lode Union Elementary 16,073 ($471) 245 -21
267 Vineland Elementary 4,470 ($471) 128 -139
268 Monson-Sultana Joint Union Elem 2,547 ($474) 263 -5
269 Fullerton Joint Union High 264,447 ($474) 239 -30
270 Howell Mountain Elementary 3,791 ($475) 306 36
271 Wheatland Union High 14,213 ($476) 302 31
272 Walnut Creek Elementary 51,759 ($478) 566 294
273 Roseville Joint Union High 179,300 ($478) 336 63
274 Gold Oak Union Elementary 8,689 ($478) 297 23
275 Placer Hills Union Elementary 15,148 ($480) 286 11
276 Clear Creek Elementary 1,735 ($483) 344 68
277 Hope Elementary 16,376 ($486) 405 128
278 S. Monterey County Jt Union High 38,961 ($486) 273 -5
279 Dos Palos Oro Loma Joint Unified 11,135 ($487) 281 2
280 Cayucos Elementary 3,021 ($489) 217 -63
281 Pollock Pines Elementary 9,166 ($492) 329 48
282 Placerville Union Elementary 15,965 ($493) 311 29

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