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Serious financial difficulties ahead for Desert Sands and Coachella Unified School Districts


A dozen school districts in Riverside County may come up short paying their bills in the next couple of years, according to a report released today by the California Department of Education.

State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson posted a status report on school districts' finances midway through fiscal year 2012-13, and according to the document, the following 12 districts in Riverside County are at risk of having insufficient funds between now and 2015-16: 

      - Banning Unified School District

      - Coachella Valley Unified School District

      - Desert Sands Unified School District

      - Hemet Unified School District

      - Jurupa Unified School District

      - Lake Elsinore Unified School District

      - Menifee Union Elementary School District

      - Murrieta Valley Unified School District

      - Palo Verde Unified School District

      - Perris Union High School District

      - Temecula Valley Unified School District

      - Val Verde Unified School District

The districts were among 117 statewide that received a "qualified certification" designation, indicating they could fail to meet their financial obligations this fiscal year or in the next two.

None of the county's school districts received a "negative certification," which implies they're destitute.

The qualified certification provides an opportunity for a county's Office of Education to step in and lend whatever assistance may be needed to address funding issues, according to state officials.

Altogether, 124 local educational agencies in California received a qualified or negative certification, comprising just under 12 percent of the 1,043 LEAs statewide, according to Torlakson.

"I can say with growing confidence that the worst of California's school funding crisis is behind us," Torlakson said. "As this report demonstrates, it will take years to restore our education system to financial health. No one was happy to see California slip to 49th in per-pupil funding, and no one should be satisfied when we move up to 46th or 47th."

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