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State Sues Over School Money Grab

The state is seeking to stop Orange County from withholding $73.5 million in funding from K-12 and community college districts.

The state of California has sued Orange County for withholding property tax money it was going to give local schools.

Late last year, the county Board of Supervisors , basically telling them not to worry about it, the state would make them whole eventually.

For , the move  to . 

The county had been haggling with the state for years over property tax and vehicle license fees funds. In looking for a way to make up a $49.5-million budget hole and stave off layoffs scheduled for December, the county supervisors found their answer in the schools’ moneypot.

After , the state sued the county Thursday to stop what school officials call a “money grab” and what the state calls an “extraordinary step of flouting the law,” according to the lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court.

The lawsuit says the county violated both state law and the state Constitution in diverting money from the so-called “education revenue augmentation fund.” 

While the lawsuit acknowledges the state is obligated to “backfill” the owed moneys to K-12 school districts, no such obligation exists for community college districts, which are facing a $12-15 million shortfall because of the county maneuvering.

The state also argues that the state’s obligation to make the K-12 districts whole is designed to help schools when, in the normal ebb and flow of the economy, property taxes do not meet projections. The state should not be required to pay for the county’s “illegal manipulation” of its fiscal affairs.

“The county of Orange should not be rewarded for its refusal to follow the law,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction stopping the county in its tracks.

The Orange County Department of Education is also contemplating its own lawsuit and has asked the affected school districts to join its efforts. At the last Board of Trustees meeting, the CUSD trustees voted to spend $5,000 to help out the county.

“If there’s litigation, it’s important for us to be able to respond quickly rather than to try to hire lawyers,” interim Deputy Superintendent of Business and Support Services Robyn Phillips said at the time.

Capo Parent April 07, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Shelly You keep spouting exagerations. All the schools in CUSD are not good and not all the scores in CUSD are not good, just like all the teachers in CUSD are not great, much less good. CUSD has some very good schools and some very good test scores. Conversely, it has several under performing schools and more average and underperforming teachers then it would like to admit. On the flip side, it has a number of wonderful and dedicated teachers.
Rob April 07, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I am speaking of the State and system in totality, not one school doing well, while 10 under peform. I am speaking of the insanity of the Union spend compared to the result. Only in Govt, tied with public sector unions, can you get less and less, while you pay more and more. What is the ratio today of paid active teacher to retired teacher 2:1?
shelly April 08, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Rob, We made the contracts with the teachers. We agreed that if they worked for us for 30 to 40 years teaching hundreds of kids that we would pay into their retirement. So now are we supposed to go back on our word? Now that we, the public and corporations and banks, tanked our economy and we, WE, do not have enough to pay them it is suddenly their fault? We are the ones who are defaulting. The teachers already did and are doing the job we asked them. The kindergarten teachers who taught many of us to read, the high school teachers who inspired us to go to college, we accuse of taking advantage. I don't get it and never will and I know an insult of how naive or stupid or tied to the union I am is coming but teachers do good. I am a parent and do not work for a union. I just don't get how we blame others for what we are responsible for. I took my son to his future college entering freshman information day today in San Diego. Who did I see there? A CUSD teacher and her family on her own time during Easter weekend leading a group of students and parents from Kinoshita Elementary to expose them to the college and inspire them to think big. I was so impressed and inspired by her. What a great teacher and role model. Teachers do good. We, the public, are at fault for failing our children. We are the ones who are coming up short on the money not the teachers.
Rob April 08, 2012 at 03:38 AM
That story, while convenent, is a fairy tale of the realtionship between the democratics and the unions. While I would agree the parents are too plan, I would also lay blame with the liberal agenda of the "village to raise a child" and promotion of single parent households. Toss in a lack of personal accountabilty (The USA is a victim culture today, very few brave people in the land whihc lays claim to the title).
shelly April 08, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Rob, Then be brave and stop being a victim and blaming the "liberal agenda" and take responsibility as a brave citizen for your government and its shortfalls. Take responsibility and help pay the bills for the things we have all received or benefitted from.
cusd mom April 08, 2012 at 07:38 AM
Well, Shelly, since you have a son entering college in the fall, your eyes will soon be open to the giant mess that our California universities are in along with the k-12 schools. Since you tell us you are middle class, you will soon learn that your son will probably only qualify for loans to pay the tuition and fees which continue to increase each semester and he will have a huge challenge to obtain the classes he needs to graduate in four years.
shelly April 08, 2012 at 02:56 PM
cusd mom, Thanks for the encouragement for my son and my family. Students graduate from UCSD on average in 4.25 years. Financially it will be difficult no matter where he goes. Private schools are more expensive but they give endowments to bring it down to a state level tuition. My eyes are open. I totally get it that people do not value education as much as they value corporations profit margins.
Rob April 08, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Shelly - Your statement indicates you do no understand the govt structure, manipulation or results of their actions. I take NO responsibility for the govt I did not elect nor support. Why should I stand silent and pay bills that were agreed upon by on the take liberal state legislators who, if not on the take, have a gun to their head by public sector unions? )ALL public sector collective bargains, if not unions, should be made illegal.) "Help" pay the bills. Ahhhh, I/we have NO choice. The govt does not provide us an option on paying taxes. They steal it from your pay before it is released. Now the laughable left have not on, not two, but THREE, and potentially a 4th, tax increase on the ballot. So now I should pay MORE, in these times, because the unions want to retire earlier and with better pensions?! OK, lets play the game. You want me to help suport the State. Fair enough. I was raised here and own a local busines.... No wait, I just moved it to Texas. Along with it, I moved 73 jobs. I offered all management and any with 10 years plus seniority their jobs and a relocation package. I also provided a 10% increase in pay as an incentive. I own my house here in San Clemente, so I a pay property tax. I still buy perishables, frequent eateries, and maintain my home. All contribute to the the State tax fund. Today, none of my staff, nor I, pay income tax in Cali. The business still has clients here, so that is taxed. In short, I pay more than most.
Teacher April 09, 2012 at 02:30 AM
As a teacher, if I have to bear the responsibility of my failing students, why is it that I don't get the credit for the successes? I'm just wondering when critics like Ron and Capo Mom espouse their vitriol, why is it so one-sided? I currently have former students attending Yale, Harvard, UCLA, MIT, Cal, Brown, and on and on. Why are our successes minimized and our failures magnified? The truth? Both the failures and successes can be tied directly back to the expectations of the home. As a high school math teacher, my job is to teach my students to run. I can only do this if they show up able to walk.
Capo Parent April 09, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Mathteacher If you want to get credit for your successes then you should be in favor of merit pay for teachers. Teachers that do a better job than other teachers should get paid more. Under the current system a great teacher and a below average teacher with the same level of senority and education get paid the same - this makes no sense.
shelly April 09, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Rob, This is America. Unions are legal. There are many countries in the world where unions are illegal and that is where there is child labor, little pay, unsafe work conditions, low pay, etc. So, as an American and a Calfiornian don't take responsibility for your government. I hear this all the time. It is always someone else's fault. I have no problem with you voicing you opinion but blaming everyone but it makes you sound like you see yourself as a victim. I am sorry you consider yourself a victim living in sunny Southern California. You made the decision to move your business to Texas. You wanted more profit. So you laid off people with less than 10 years experience. That was your choice and no one else's, not the government's and not the liberal left's. The economy tanked because people (all of us) put profit and immediate gratification ahead of sound business and financial practices. It had nothing to do with the "left". Good for you. You pay more than most. All of us pay taxes and contribute. But right now for the children in school our current taxes are not covering our children's education. It has nothing to do with teachers pay but with an economy that went belly up. Teachers are not the bad guys. CUSD budget has been cut year after year because of the economy and teachers pay and benefits have been cut. The union's did not cause the economy to tank or the shortfall in the budget.
Jane Lambson April 09, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Shelly, I am coming to Rob's defense for some of the comments you made. They need to be scrutinized a little further. We all know "This is America. Unions are legal." Nobody is saying differently. He only mentioned that public sector unions or the collective bargaining of them should be outlawed. You have seen the bumper sticker, "Don't blame me, I voted for_____"? There is some truth to that. Nowadays, with the severe gerrymandering, politicians pick their voters, not vice versa. It is the sad truth. My vote as a Californian won't mean anything for the presidential election, and it won't matter in my congressional race because it is overwhelmingly Repub. Really, the only significant vote I can make is for a CC seat, H2O Boards, and the SD. And because of this, Rob decides what is best is to move his business to TX. I say good for him. You imply that it is greed that motivates him. "You wanted more profit". Have you ever thought he may have shareholders that demand better returns, and CA arcane regulations cut into those returns? And who wants all these layers of bureaucracy and government intervention? The liberal left, that is who. So your comment, "not the government's and not the liberal left's" is completely wrong.
Jane Lambson April 09, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Now think of this? How many children are dependents of those 73 employees that went to TX? I have no idea, but let's just say there are 30. So when Rob made a prudent business decision to move his business, the trickle down effect caused one teacher to lose his job in SC (assuming they all were enrolled in CUSD schools). Are you starting to see the effects of government mandates and how they affect the common folk like you and me? It is a vicious cycle. Sadly, some people seem to think that throwing more money at the public education system will fix all the problems, and life will continue on. The reality is something quite different. For the nth time, nobody is saying the teachers are the bad guys. This is the perception that the CTA-CUEA-CUCF wants the public to think, so when they strike, the voters will rally around the plight of the teacher. As many people have pointed out on these posts, over 60% of the electorate bought this pitch at the last election.
shelly April 09, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Jane lambson, Everyone is motivated by something. I did not say it was bad to be motivated by profit. It is just one of the reasons people move their businesses else where. Environmental and safety regulations that protect our environment are not arcane. We should not go backwards because it effects the profit margin of companies. Businesses need to develop better technology that does not damage the environment. This will help us all in the long run. Short term it may effect profit margins. The education budget has been cut. So no one is asking for more than it had before. The education budget has been cut not because of the union of teachers but because of what irresponsible business and financial practices did to our economy. The children in schools now are asking and needing reasonable class sizes, programs intact and a school year that is not cut short. They are not needing more. They are needing enough money to fund their education now. School districts were living within their means until corporations, business and people took down the economy. Kids still need education even though the profit margin of some has gone down. People collectively decide if they want to form a union. They vote on this. Once you make it illegal for some to form a union than you make it so much easier to make it illegal for all to form unions. Sounds scary to me. Does not sound like America.
Jane Lambson April 09, 2012 at 10:02 PM
First of all, why do you think all regulations are environment and safety related? There are many other laws on the books that are there for no obviously good reasons except the politicians that put them there and their donors. So the recession was caused strictly by the businesses and individuals that made poor decisions? No government policies or the natural economic cycle had anything to do with this current recession? There is a big difference between public and private unions. Nobody is advocating eliminating the private unions, so we go back to the days of the 1890's when workers actually needed them. Public unions are a complete different animal. Collective bargaining was not even a law until Moonbeam signed it into law in the mid-70's. Now, it has become a monstrosity. I guarantee you that if a teacher in a district were to make calls for union decertification, he would get an unfriendly call from the boss and a lot of ostracization from his peers. Perhaps there should be a law that a public employee union should be recertified every three years or so under a secret ballot. That would keep the bosses somewhat honest and give teachers more of a feel of empowerment. P.S. Shelly, please review the differences in "effect" and "affect". My English teacher friends would fail you instantly.
shelly April 10, 2012 at 05:06 AM
Jane Lambson, Yes, it was the business and financial practices of businesses and individuals who brought down our economy. 8 years of Pres. Bush did not help. The passage of Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which Pres. Clinton should have vetoed. (A deregulation/a repeal of legislation) which unleashed the greed of many. No one forced banks and businesses to sell and sell and sell faulty loans. No one forced businesses to lie about their bottom lines. No one forced individuals to live beyond their means. No one forced individuals to invent ponzi schemes that took the live savings of many. People chose to do these things. I reviewed the usage of affect and effect. Yes, I was using these words wrong. It was so polite of you to point that out. Good thing your friends were not my teachers if they would have failed me instead of reteaching. What is the purpose of educating? To give a grade or to teach?
Capo Parent April 10, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Shelly You're claim that businesses and and the financial practices of businesses and individuals brought down our economy. In fact, we all brought down the economy because the overwhelming majority of people and gov't overspent. The cuts to education, govt', the private sector, etc. is the natural deleveraging that needs to occur, whether we like it or not. The economy is not out of the woods yet, just look at the recent job numbers. The last thing we need is more taxes, especially under the banner of education and public safety. The rich can leave or develop strategies to lessen or thwart the impact of higher taxes. In the end, it's the middle class that will pay the most and suffer the greatest impact. What will CA do once it forces a critical mass of middle class families to flee? That should be the biggest worry and fear.
shelly April 10, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Capo Parent, I have said all along that we are all responsible for the state of the economy. We caused the problem and we should fix it. People are not fleeing Southern California. A temporary tax to help with this education budget crisis is not much to ask citizens who caused the crisis in the first place. Temporarily sacrificing for the children of your community should not be a reason to flee. Good schools help drive up property values. Children are in school now. Their class sizes, programs, and school year are affected (Jane is that the correct usage?) now. So either people choose to help the children of their community or they don't. I know that some people have used this financial crisis to further their agenda for vouchers. This may not be your agenda. I do not want my taxes to go to schools who can discriminate based on intelligence, economics, religion, etc. Private schools can pick and choose who goes where. People who have no children who do not want to fund these schools will be paying for other people's children to attend schools that foster discriminative policies that these taxpayers abhor. So blame whoever you want and have your own theory of how to fix it but my opinion is that the community should want to help the children who live in their community. We all caused the problem and we should all help fix it.
bbq April 10, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Shelly, let's look at what happened to this country over the past twenty or so years to cause the economy to "tank." American jobs were exported to other countries because, not only were the corporations greedy and had no loyalty to our country but in many cases the UNIONS held them hostage. They were paying people $25.00 per hour to turn a screw! I don't think there is a need at all for unions anymore. We have plenty of laws on the books that protect the American worker. The housing bubble then held up the economy for a while until it burst. The last few years has obviously been a downward spiral as more and more businesses have had to close and more and more people have become unemployed and lost their homes. The last thing the middle class can do now is pay more in taxes. I just read the new ballot measure, "Our Kids, Our Future," that was Emailed to me by the middle school. Holy S##t! It calls for me to pay an additional (approximately) $1500.00 per year in taxes right off the bat, and more and more for YEARS. My vote will be easy. NO!
Capo Parent April 10, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Whose is "we?" For many years in CUSD, upper management for CUSD would negotiate with the teachers union and would take whatever pay and/or benefit increases were given to the teachers union. The only party not represented under that scenerio is the kids/public. As for the teacher from Kinoshita, isn't that a Title 1 school in SJC that wears uniforms, has breakfast & lunch provided and has all kinda of funding while most the other schools in CUSD are financially starving. You may feel the public is at fault for "failing" our children, but that's your guilt trip and ploy for money, not mine. My kids have enjoyed a very good life; they have been well supported and nutured, and have been high achievers in school, in large part due to significant amout of tutoring. As for coming up short on the money, you have a very naive understanding of the financial crisis and its ramifications. For the last several years we as a neighborhood, city, county, state and nation have been undergoing a massive deleveraging. Taxing people who have lost most of their wealth, suffered reductions in salaries and benefits, if not a total loss in employment, and lost most, if not all the equity in their homes, do not need nor can most bear more taxes. If you want to be one of Moonbeams gullible guppies and pay more taxes to sustain an inefficient, over spending, ever wasteful gov't, have at it, just leave the rest of us alone.
Capo Parent April 10, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Great, now we are going to have our schools pimp us to vote for tax increases that will only make our lives more expensive. How about in exchange, parents get to vote on school choices, including attending any public school, no matter the district, within a certain geographic distance from your home; easier path to charter schools; and vouchers that can be used to attend any public school within the county you reside in. Very reasonable proposals that will never see the light of day because the last thing those who control education want is competition and any reduction in the monies they view as theirs.
shelly April 10, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Capo Parent, You are able to do this if the district accepts you and has room. We have interdistrict students in CUSD. And in CUSD we have school of choice. Charter schools are fine if parents want them. At charter schools they often have "mandatory fundraising" and volunteer hours. This makes the school better and people part of their school community and makes it possible to have programs that enrich the students education. Just like at traditional public schools and private schools there is a lot of fundraising at charters. Vouchers go to schools that can discriminate based on economics, intelligence, physical ability, etc. bbq, Having a living wage increases the buying power of the public and provides a market for the goods and services of corporations. Increasing the wages of the workers increased the middle class in this nation. Unions brought about a fair wage and safe and fair working conditions. Yes, a fair wage brings down the profit margin but it also helps your community and country. So do you believe that we should have working conditions and wages like the other countries where the jobs have moved? Child labor, unsafe working conditions, low wages, etc. The housing bubble was caused by a partial repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. Faulty loans were sold, resold, resold again and again and again. Greed drove this. People are no longer satisfied with the American Dream. They covet the mega American dream with no concern of the effects.
shelly April 10, 2012 at 10:42 PM
bbq, I don't believe that public schools can send out legislative or political information so either you are spreading misinformation or you are confused from where the mail was sent.
Capo Parent April 10, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Shelly If you think CUSD is going to let any of is students transfer to SVUSD or any other schoo district without a fight, you're dreaming, and not in a good way. Moses had a better shot of getting his people out of Egypt then CUSD students have of getting out of CUSD. Students are cash cows, and CUSD needs as many cash cows as it can rope, willing or not. Charter schools get less funding and less administative support that traditional public schools so they have to fund raise and they have to have parent volunteers in order to succeed in the manner the parents want and anticipate. Your comments regarding vouchers show your extreme bias and prejudice against vouchers. By their very nature, vouchers are the ultimate expression of school choice for parents. Prejudice and bias is not limited to schools that receive vouchers. Prejudice and bias is exhibited in traditional public schools, for example, school bulling. At CVHS there have been several confrontations between Hispanic students and non-Hispanic students. By the way, it. If you carefully read my post that you are responding to you will see that I limited the use of vouchers to public schools.
shelly April 10, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Capo Parent, Yes, I believe that I am very clear about how I feel about vouchers. I don't like them and I am biased against them. Why would you need vouchers to attend another public shool? CUSD has school of choice. And if you wish to attend a school in another district why not move there? There are interdistrict transfers. How many apply for this? I have no issue with interdistrict transfers especially if all districts were funded the same but they are not. CUSD gets less. Unfortunately there is prejudice and racism that occurs everywhere and it is caused by ingnorance of other cultures. But at CVHS I bet there are many Mexican Americans, Guatamalan American, Peruvian Americans, German Americans, French Americans,etc. getting along. And unlike at a private schools CVHS has to accept everyone if there is room. CVHS cannot choose to not accept someone because this person cannot afford to pay, or because this person has a disability or because they do not have a certain IQ or etc. Because of the irresponsibility of us the children of our community are paying the price.
cusd mom April 12, 2012 at 02:22 AM
I totally agree with Capo Parent about the racial confrontations occurring at CVHS. It's a dirty little secret that the district doesn't want to talk about. Shelly certainly wouldn't know about it because I believe her kids attend San Juan Hills, which is the school many of the Hispanic kids currently attending CVHS should be attending, but are not due to the gerrymandering tactics of the district office.
shelly April 12, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Capo Parent, You stated, "In fact, we all brought down the economy " so whose responsibility is it to fix it if we all, in fact, brought down the economy?
shelly April 12, 2012 at 03:06 AM
cusd mom, Why is it a dirty little secret? Is there something wrong with the children of the Village which is about 1 mile from CVHS and the children from north SJC? These kids are from all ethnicities, Mexican American, Peruvian American, Guatamalian American, Columbia American, etc. and they are wonderful and diverse and individuals! CVHS student population is 28% Hispanic and SJHHS is 37% Hispanic. Are you saying the racial confrontations are all one sided and come from the Hispanics? I am not understanding what your point is? The building of the administration building and new high school were just blips on people's radar until the boundaries for the new high school were announced? Why? Why are some people so upset about this? The children of San Juan Capistrano are a wonderful children with diverse ethnicities and both schools are lucky to have these children as students.
cusd mom April 13, 2012 at 04:09 AM
I'll answer your question, Shelly. There is nothing wrong with the kids fron the Village. However, there are others from SJC who attended Marco Forester, who I believe live near the mission area, who were not boundaried to SJ Hills like the rest of their classmates and were sent to Capo Valley HS instead. They were sent there because Fleming did not want SJ HIlls to be too HIspanic. If these children are so wonderful, why were they not allowed to attend the same high school with the rest of their classmates from Marco?
MFriedrich April 13, 2012 at 06:20 AM
More cuts in public education in OC are on the way. I doubt that parents here even recognize the fact that most of their "great" OC schools in CUSD and Saddleback feature makeshift manufactured buildings with crappy AC systems as the main classrooms. Visit an elementary, middle and high school in the midwest sometime - like Iowa, Minnesota or Wisconsin. They add on to their school structures properly and plan appropriately for population growth and community expansion. Every single school I've been to in Lake Forest has these dinky, mobile home-like buildings serving as major classroom settings. It's a disgrace. That's just one damning example of how for every $1.00 in tax money allocated to education in CA, probably less than $0.05 is hitting the student and their day-to-day educational environment to succeed. I'm fine with paying very attractive salaries and benefits for solid, performing teachers. But it should be easier than it is today to fire non-performers. With higher salaries and benefits payed on the front end, I think it's fair to expect teachers to fund their own damned retirement (or play the roulette wheel) just like everybody else. All of this back-end benefits fluff is unnecessary, wasteful and, more importantly, unsustainable.


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