MOORPARK : Panel to Reconsider Use of Lottery Funds

Responding to criticism, the Moorpark Unified School District board has asked a committee of parents, teachers and administrators to come up with new proposals to spend $243,000 in lottery money.

The debate over the allocation of California Lottery funds came as the district prepared to grapple with a projected $500,000 deficit in a $20.1-million budget.

Under the existing district allocation method, 30% of all lottery proceeds--known as Lottery C funds--are distributed on the basis of recommendations from the 14-member Lottery Expenditure Advisory Committee.

The committee is responsible for determining which areas of education are most in need of funds.

Originally faced with 99 requests totaling about $600,000, the committee pared the list to 52 projects for funding.

But teachers, counselors and coaches objected to the proposals, saying some items that had been included, such as student field trips, had been paid for by parents or out of other funds in the past. The critics were upset that the committee had neglected stipends for coaches, as well as reference material for counselors, among other things.

As a result, the board asked the committee to review its recommendations and remove some projects. The head of the committee, Guy Aronoff, said the committee would take another look at its priorities.

In other action, a 2.3% bonus was awarded to district management, including superintendents, assistant superintendents, secretaries and some clerical employees. At a cost of about $43,000, the increase will benefit 44 people and will be paid with state lottery funds.

With nearly 5,000 students, Moorpark is one of the fastest growing school districts in the state.

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