State takes control of strapped Monterey County school district


The state is taking over a Monterey County school district that was facing bankruptcy and lending it $13 million, state officials announced Wednesday.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed emergency legislation authorizing the loan to the King City Joint Union High School District. A state takeover is required by law once such a loan is granted.

Today, John Bernard will be named the state administrator to oversee the district, which has a nearly $24-million budget to serve 2,134 students in an agrarian community located 105 miles south of San Jose.


State takeovers of school districts are rare, but last month, state education officials announced that the number of districts deemed to be at risk of fiscal insolvency had quadrupled as the state cut billions from school funding because of the budget crisis.

The state budget plan announced earlier this week would cut an additional $6 billion from schools and community colleges.

School districts must file reports showing their financial health to the state, and the latest reports showed that 19 districts, including King City, would not be able to meet their financial obligations for the school year that just ended, or the upcoming school year, without making drastic cuts.

Eighty-nine districts, including big-city school systems in Los Angeles, Oakland, Santa Ana and Sacramento, are in jeopardy of not meeting their financial obligations in the school year that just ended or the next two years.