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Calexico Schools May Lose Millions Due To Lost Instruction

Audio

Aired 7/19/10

The Calexico Unified School District could lose millions of dollars in state funding. Imperial Valley County education officials question the efforts to teach kids after the Easter earthquake.

— The Calexico Unified School District could lose millions of dollars in state funding. Imperial Valley County education officials question the efforts to teach kids after the Easter earthquake.

Calexico School Superintendent Christina Luna shut down all 13 district campuses after a 7.2 earthquake rocked the border city in April.

Schools remained closed for several weeks. When they re-opened in May, Luna insisted student safety was her top priority.

"A lot of people didn't understand," Luna said. "There were so many hidden concerns and challenges that we had to face, whether it was broken pipes or electrical."

But the break could now cost the district millions of dollars in state funding; schools get money based on how many students attend every day.

Luna petitioned the Imperial Valley Office of Education to recoup the lost funding, but the county superintendent says the district didn't do enough to utilize alternative locations to teach students.

Enrique Cervantes is the leader of Calexico's teachers union. He says Luna did not work with the school board to determine emergency plans.

"There wasn't really a justifiable reason to keep so many students out of school for such a long period of time," Cervantes said.

He says Calexico Unified will be devastated if it doesn't receive the state funding. The district already faces a $5-million budget deficit.

"We have had a lack of good leadership here in this district and consequently this is the result of it," said Cervantes.

The county wants the district to prove it tried to educate students after the quake. The district has not responded.

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