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Seven County School Districts Could Have Financial Trouble, State Says

— Seven school districts in San Diego County are on a list released by the state Department of Education today of those that might have trouble paying their bills in the next few years.

The districts are among 120 around California that submitted "qualified" certifications of their financial condition. The information includes the current and following two fiscal years.

The districts in San Diego County are:

  • Borrego Springs Unified
  • Carlsbad Unified
  • Fallbrook Union
  • Grossmont Union
  • National Elementary
  • Ramona City Unified
  • San Marcos Unified

The San Diego Unified School District, the largest in the region, filed a "positive" certification even though it faces a possible shortfall of more than $100 million in the next school year. The exact amount will be depend on the fate of Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed tax hikes.

The district's certification was positive because financial staff have identified areas where cuts can be made, if necessary, district spokesman Jack Brandais said.

Seven school districts statewide issued "negative'' certifications, meaning they won't be able to cover their financial obligations. Two are in Southern California, neither in San Diego County.

The challenged school districts—17 more than last year—educate one in three students in California, said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

"The financial emergency facing our schools remains both wide and deep," Torlakson said. "The deep cuts made to school funding—and looming uncertainties about the future—are driving school districts to the brink of insolvency."

The districts issued the semi-annual certifications in December, based on their finances last Oct. 31. Torlakson said their fiscal situations might have changed since Brown made his budget proposals last month.

Brandais said the districts will issue another report on their financial status next month, detailing their fiscal health as of Jan. 31.

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