Districts don’t owe state cash

first_imgFourteen school districts in the Antelope and Santa Clarita valleys will not have to reimburse the state up to $15 million for the construction of special-education classrooms. The State Allocation Board adopted regulations Wednesday saying a new law concerning transfer of school facilities would not be applied retroactively and the school districts would be exempt from the payback requirement, officials said. “The regulations have been adopted to not apply as a retroactive remittance,” Westside Union School District Superintendent Regina Rossall said. District officials said the new law would unfairly penalize them for taking over from Los Angeles County the special-education programs for severely disabled students several years ago. Assembly Bill 2947 would require districts to repay the state for part of the cost of constructing special-education classrooms that were built with 100 percent state hardship funding given to the Los Angeles County Office of Education when it ran the programs. Ten Antelope Valley school districts stood to lose more than $12 million. Four elementary school districts in the Santa Clarita Valley faced losing $2.3 million, based on the number of classrooms that were built. The classrooms were built in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and the special-education programs were transferred from the county Office of Education to the districts from 2000 to 2004. The bill says if the county transfers title of the classrooms to the districts within 10 years of their occupation, then the districts would have to pay the state back. The county still has title to the classrooms but wants to transfer it to the districts because the law says the county’s eligibility for special-education school construction funding, which was hurt by the transfer, can’t be restored until the title transfer occurs. State officials said the districts would not face liability unless they agreed to accept title. Officials said the county can regain some of its eligibility by reaching agreements with districts that were also in hardship status at the time the classrooms were built and for which no payback is required. Hardship districts would have received 100 percent funding from the state if they themselves had built the special-education classrooms. School districts that did not qualify for hardship funding and were in a 50-50 match program would owe the state money, officials said. — Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744karen.maeshiro@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more