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Calabasas : School District Seeks Ideas on Using Funds

The Las Virgenes Unified School District is looking for people who want to spend money.

The agency is seeking public input on ways to spend $540,000 it received in the settlement of a lawsuit against the state by the California Teachers Assn. Under the terms of the settlement, district officials said, the money must be spent on instructional materials, technology or deferred maintenance.

A public hearing will be held at 6 tonight at district headquarters, 4111 N. Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas.

Supt. John Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, has drawn up a wish list of ways he’d like to see the money spent. He recommends spending $110,000 to replace the district’s antiquated phone system, $153,000 on deferred maintenance and painting, and giving the rest to individual schools to use as they see fit.

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The California Teachers Assn. sued the state in 1992 after the state tried to take back $1 billion it had appropriated the previous year for education. Gov. Pete Wilson said the state--which is required by law to set aside a minimum amount of its annual budget for education--had paid out more the previous year than the law required. The $1 billion had therefore been a loan, said Wilson, who deducted that amount from the budget approved in 1992. The courts later ruled that the action was not legal, and ordered the state to repay the money to schools. Las Virgenes’ portion amounted to $540,000.

Don Zimring, the district’s assistant superintendent of business, said the money cannot be used to eliminate the district’s $400,000 deficit.


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