California lawmakers consider bailout for Inglewood schools
On the last day of the legislative session, state lawmakers on Friday will consider approving $55 million in emergency funding to keep the Inglewood Unified School District operating.
The urgency bill would have State Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson assume the duties of the Inglewood school board, which takes on an advisory role. Torlakson would work with the county schools superintendent to appoint an administrator for day-to-day operations, according to state Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood), who authored the bailout measure.
"Our other option is to shut down the school district and have the schoolchildren cast to the wind," Wright told his fellow senators during a hearing Thursday. "This loan assures us that going forward the teachers will be paid" and the students will not have classes interrupted.
Wright said the school district has been hit by a 35% reduction in students, much of it students moving to charter schools, which means a big drain on finances. But he also said the school board made some mistakes, including a decision to end some employee furloughs too early.
"There were some fiscal decisions they made that were not sound," Wright said before a panel sent SB 533 to the Senate floor for action Friday. The funding includes a $29-million emergency loan and another $26 million in lease financing through a state development bank.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento