Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposes to give school districts a
revenue limit increase of 4.23% for 2005-06.
On its surface, this increase is rather healthy and substantial.
On closer examination, however, one discovers that the largesse is
designed for a major shift in school finance and it is, in fact, more
of a mirage and smoke and mirrors rather than an actual increase for
The governor proposes two major shifts in financial responsibility
from the state to local school districts.
The first shift has to do with the state’s contribution to the
teachers’ retirement system.
Historically, contributions to the retirement system have been
shared by the state, local districts and teachers.
The governor proposes to shift the responsibility of the state
paying its share of the contribution to the local school districts.
Teachers and local districts will have to pay the full share of the
This shift in responsibility will cost Glendale $1.7 million
If the governor’s proposal is approved, Glendale will have to pay
the increased cost out of its 4.23% proposed increase for next year
and for years thereafter!
The second shift that the governor proposes is to require school
districts to assume responsibility for paying the full cost of mental
health services for students who are in need of such service.
Historically, the state paid its share for such services.
The cost of this financial shift to Glendale is around $1 million,
plus or minus, depending on the number of students served.
When the cost of the shift in the teacher retirement system and
mental health services are added up and assumed by school districts
such as Glendale, the governor’s generosity becomes a mirage and the
additional funds disappear.
Additionally, Glendale is experiencing a severe decline in
enrollment of nearly 700 students this year and another 700 students
Families tell us that they can’t afford to rent or buy affordable
homes in Glendale or California and they are moving to states such as
Nevada and Arizona.
The enrollment decline will cost the district over $6 million
dollars in income.
Additionally, Glendale will experience a decline in revenue
because it has fewer students from families who are at or below the
poverty level as well as students who are non-English speaking.
Federal and state funding will decline as we serve fewer such
When all the above decreases in income to the Glendale district
are added up, one can understand why the governor’s proposals to
shift funds and responsibility from the state to local districts
leave us in shock.
Make no mistake about it, Glendale is suffering from the state
“borrowing” and financial shenanigans.
The Glendale Board of Education has made major cuts in staff and
We have borrowed from every possible account such as the Retiree
Benefit Fund, the Health Benefit Fund and the Certificate of
Participation Repayment Fund.
We have reduced administrators, teachers, classified, maintenance
and operations staff.
We have instituted cost controls on purchases, travel and other
expenditures, and we have approved dipping into district reserves for
over $9 million dollars.
There is a point, however, when enough is enough and the state
needs to give sufficient real dollars and not take them away!
* CHUCK SAMBAR is a resident of La Canada Flintridge, trustee of
the Glendale Unified School District Board of Education and director
of the Los Angeles County Trustees Assn. He can be reached at