Orange County’s deficit

Education has unfortunately gone from being a priority in California to being viewed as a source of funds to pay other bills.

This is happening right now in Orange County where the Board of Supervisors decided to redirect $73.5 million in tax dollars that are supposed to go to local schools to pay for the deficit.

Orange County has been in a long dispute with the state of California over the way in which it funded the county’s bankruptcy 20 years ago, which has led to this situation.

The county has a deficit of $49.5 million which it has tried unsuccessfully to get the state legislature to cover. The county’s lawyers determined that not only did they have the right to redirect the funds from schools but also that they are required to take back the funds lost in earlier legislative deals.

The redirected school funds will be used to protect over 250 positions, cover medical care for the indigent, and to maintain jails and juvenile detention centers. How ironic that money is taken away from schools in order to keep jails and youth centers open!

Not only do the actions of the Board of Supervisors hurt the local school district but by redirecting funds, they also threaten California community colleges. This has prompted the state investigation into the legality of the Supervisors’ actions.

Orange County has a long conservative history of opposing local taxes and due to this – in a unique way – is fiscal burden on the state. Now its irresponsibility again has the potential to damage local as well as state public schools.