Wednesday, 12 June 2024

'Bridge' fund created to help local school districts

LAKE COUNTY – With more uncertain times ahead for education, the Lake County Office of Education's (LCOE) Board of Trustees has taken a step toward creating a funding safety net for local school districts.


At a recent meeting, the Lake County Board of Education voted unanimously to establish a temporary “bridge” fund which would offer county school districts special loans.


County Superintendent of Schools Dave Geck said the loan fund will make available up to $1 million for school districts that temporarily need funds during times when the state has decided to postpone school funding.


“Districts can be assured that when the state creates cash flow emergencies the county office will be there to support them,” said LCOE Board President Patricia Hicks.


Geck said LCOE created the fund by using the reserve in its deferred maintenance fund account. He credited LCOE Business Services Director Michelle Buell with coming up with the idea.


Before approving the bridge fund, the LCOE board received a positive audit report from independent auditors, Robertson and Associates for the 2008-09 school year, Geck said. The audit showed that LCOE complied with the requirements of the state and federal programs it operates.


“There were no findings or questioned costs relative to the financial statement,” the audit stated. “There were no findings or questioned costs relative to federal awards or programs. There were no findings or questioned costs relative to state awards or programs.”


The auditor also commended LCOE and the Lake County Board of Education for its leadership in maintaining a strong budget position in these challenging budget times.


“Once we received the positive audit report it made sense that we could move forward with the loan fund proposal,” Geck said. “Districts are struggling with cash flow and this is a way to temporarily deal with a shortfall.”


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's “May Revise” to his budget is expected within the next week or so, and Geck said, at that point, districts will be making plans for next year, with cash flow likely to be a big issue.


“So we expect if a need surfaces we will be contacted,” he said.

 

Lakeport Unified School District Superintendent Erin Hagberg said Monday that, at this point in time, her district's business manager doesn't anticipate that they will need to borrow from LCOE's bridge fund.


“However, should cash flow become a problem for our district next year, we do appreciate having that option available for us,” Hagberg said.


Geck said LCOE works with the school districts to identify areas where it can support student learning.


“We operate many exemplary programs that are recognized regionally and statewide for their service to our schools and districts,” he said.


He pointed to programs like Healthy Start and the College Going Initiative, preschool and after school programs, certified nursing program graduation, summer school academies focused on algebra and science, AmeriCorps community service and reading tutorial programs, Community School community service activities, Safe Schools Counseling programs and teacher training programs in algebra and English language arts.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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