State Of California Cuts Back “Federal Surplus Personal Property Program” That Allowed California School Districts To Purchase Equipment At Extremely Low Cost

At precisely the time when a faltering economy means cities and schools need to save money, the state of California has decimated one of the very programs that helps local governments cut costs.

For decades, schools districts like the Huntington Beach Union High School District and the Anaheim Union High School District have depended on an obscure program that allows nonprofits, small businesses and local governments to acquire surplus federal equipment at dramatically reduced prices.

Under the Federal Surplus Personal Property Program, you can get a$15,000 forklift for $1,000, an $8,000 Dodge van for $750.

“That’s how we’re sending money to the classroom. We don’t have to buy a $60,000 truck,” said Steve Bradford, fleet manager for the Huntington Beach district. He said his district has acquired staff cars, trucks, vans, electric carts, forklifts, trailers and portable lights through the program.

“It’s been a life saver for us,” said Scott McDonough, garage supervisor for the Anaheim district, who estimates that 35 to 40 percent of the 150 vehicles in his “white” fleet (non-school buses) were obtained through the program.

To cut costs, however, the state recently closed the program’s headquarters in Santa Ana and moved the operation to Sacramento. That might not sound like a big deal, but McDonough and Bradford say it’s been a disaster. They say the program doesn’t work now and they can’t figure out what equipment is available.

http://taxdollars.freedomblogging.com/author/bjoseph/

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Orange County School Districts Might Not Receive Much Needed Federal Stimulus Funds As State Of California Would Use Monies To Offset Budget Deficit

California’s independent Legislative Analyst’s Office last week recommended about $3.6 billion more in cuts to public education in the 2009-10 school year, with the intent that federal stimulus money would replace those depleted funds.

“If the state uses the stimulus money to backfill its own coffers, we’re not sure if we will see any of those dollars,” said Renee Hendrick, the Orange County Department of Education’s executive director for business services. “It’s awful. I’m just not sure how districts are going to do it.”

The California Department of Education is anticipated to receive $6 billion in stimulus money through the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, a pot of money that was presumed to trickle down to school districts and be used to offset their general-fund budget deficits. Education officials also are expecting to receive an additional $2.6 billion earmarked for specific programs.

If the state shaves off $3.6 billion from the stabilization fund, however, school districts will get less than half of the money they were hoping for.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/education-money-school-2340607-federal-districts

State Of California Budget Crisis Is Shrinking Payments To California Schools By Estimated $3 Billion Creating Serious Shortfalls For School Districts

As state legislators and the governor battle each other over how to create a budget for a struggling California, School District officials are left to struggle, too, facing a second year of deep, midyear budget cuts.

“The cuts to schools and state services proposed in the governor’s budget only serve to make an awful situation worse,” he said. “His call to defer nearly $3 billion in payments due to schools early this year would create a cash-flow crisis for our schools. I am also adamantly opposed to his proposal to reduce the school year by five days

 

http://www.tbrnews.com/articles/2009/01/15/redondo_beach_news/news11.txt

The Redondo Beach Unified School District, which last year lost nearly $2 million in revenue from the state, this year is looking at approximately $2.4 million in cuts.

According to Chief Business Official Janet Redella, this is an almost word-for-word repeat of what happened this time last year: Apportionment checks are late, categorical funds are in jeopardy and, worse still said Redella, is that these are still 2008’s issues.

“This has been a problem since the governor’s proposal last January,” she said. “The fact that we’re in 2009 and (we’re) still talking about 2008 is alarming.”

The budget at issue – the 2008-09 budget – covers the fiscal year ending in June. Redella explained that the 2009-10 budget hasn’t even been addressed yet, and the inability of the legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to agree on a budget impacts the School District daily, she said.

“I’m estimating $2.4 million in midyear reductions. What reductions can I make halfway through the year?” she asked. “If the Legislature continues to not come to a conclusion on this, we’ll still not have concrete information to make our decision on. The indecisiveness is backing us into a corner. The longer it takes, the fewer options we have available to us.”

This week, in an attempt to remedy California’s nearly $40 billion deficit, Schwarzenegger proposed tweaking Proposition 98’s guaranteed minimum funding to schools, which could create a $7 billion loss in future funding to the state’s public schools. This is in addition to earlier cost-saving suggestions such as shortening the school year by up to five days to save approximately $1 billion.

State Superintendent Jack O’Connell released a statement Jan. 9 that called the proposed $6 billion in statewide education cuts “crippling.”