Legislative bills could impact TTUSD funding | SierraSun.com

Legislative bills could impact TTUSD funding

Two bills with financial impacts for Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District will soon be on Gov. Gray Davis’ desk.

A legislative action committee composed of parents is urging the community to write the governor and ask him to pass the legislation which asks the state to reimburse the school district for snow removal costs and to offset losses from non-district and private school students attending the charter school.

“We want to get people to write letters to the governor,” said Barb Cohen, one of the committee members.

She said letters need to be written soon before a decision is made on the two bills.

Both legislative bills were introduced last winter and have wound through the legislative process over the summer.

Assembly Bill 123, authored by Assemblyman Rico Oller, Sen. Tim Leslie and others, would partially reimburse school districts for the cost of removing snow from the roads and appropriates $110,000 from the state general fund to be used for the school districts affected.

Five school districts, including TTUSD, would have qualified last school year for a combined reimbursement of $159,335.

This bill allows a school district to be reimbursed for 50 percent of the costs of snow removal that exceed $10 per pupil.

Gov. Davis earlier vetoed a one-time funding of $182,500 for this bill in the 1999 omnibus education trailer bill. Cost estimates were revised and lowered to $159,000, according to the California legislative Web site.

Another bill could bring more money to the school district to compensate for its declining enrollment.

Senate Bill 895, authored by Leslie, Oller, Sen. Chesbro and Sen. Johannessen, would take away a financial impact created by the implementation of a charter school in the district.

Currently, school districts that begin a year with less enrollment than the previous year are funded at the level of the previous year.

“This provides districts with a one-year “fiscal cushion” to ease the financial loss that accompanies declining enrollment,” said the legislative analysis of the law.

However, when the charter school began in the district, it attracted students who were not currently enrolled in TTUSD’s traditional public school.

So, while TTUSD had a decline in enrollment, it was not given that “fiscal cushion” because charter school students were counted in the total enrollment.

There are regulations being considered by the state Board of Education, but if enacted they would not reimburse the district for past years.

SB 895 would fund the declining enrollment for past fiscal years for Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District, Santa Rosa City School District, the Enterprise School District and the San Carlos Elementary School District.

The bill’s cost is expected to be $500,000 from the state general fund.

Cohen said it is important that community members and parents write letters to the Governor asking him to sign the legislation. Individuals can call and ask for a sample letter to be faxed to them that will give them ideas on what to write.

Cohen’s phone number is 546-2560 and Lucy Isbell’s phone number is 583-8834.

Letters may be addressed to Honorable Governor Gray Davis, Governor’s Office, State Capitol, Sacramento, Calif. 94248; or faxed to (916) 445-4633.

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