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Schools get financial windfall
February 12, 2013, 05:00 AM By Heather Murtagh Daily Journal Staff

Local school districts are getting $30.8 million in one-time money once held by redevelopment agencies disbanded by the state, but not all will be able to actually use it for educational needs.

Since the state decided to close down redevelopment agencies, there has been a long process of making sure obligations are met but also distributing funds sitting in the bank. The money many cities had was in a fund for low- to moderate-income housing. In San Mateo County, a total of $30.8 million was recently distributed to local schools, said county Deputy Controller Shirley Tourel. The money will help some districts with one-time purchases. For others, the money will simply pass through and end up going back to the state.

The largest allocation, $12.2 million, went to the South San Francisco Unified School District. Superintendent Alejandro Hogan estimates that the district will end up keeping about half of the money. Nearly $6 million, he said, will need to go to the state. Districts funded through property taxes face a "fair share" cut, or a need to give back to the state what their fair share of the cuts to schools would equal.

Over the next two meetings, the South San Francisco Unified School District Board of Trustees will discuss its goals. In March, a plan to fund those goals will go before the board, said Hogan, who estimated the one-time money would be used for needs like updating technology or other district equipment.

Plans have yet to be made for the nearly $4 million distributed to the San Mateo County Community College District.

"Because they are one-time, we plan to use them for one-time purposes such as instructional equipment and deferred maintenance. The state stopped funding those programs many years ago and we are in dire need of investing in those areas," said Barbara Christensen, director of community and government relations.

In the Sequoia Union High School District, the $1.37 million allocation will help with the budget deficit, said Superintendent Jim Lianides. The district has a deficit of slightly over $3 million, which these funds will help reduce, he said.

On the other hand, the San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District won't get to keep its nearly $3.3 million allocation.

Unfortunately, we do not get to keep this money as this new allocation will be absorbed by our Fair Share obligation," said Chief Business Official Laura Phan, who said the money will basically be passed through.

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Funds distributed

Money from the Low Moderate Incoming Housing Funds, which local redevelopment agencies had, were recently distributed to school districts. The one-time payments represents about $30.8 million.

Bayshore Elementary $234,691.48

Belmont-Redwood Shores Elementary $22,197.78

Brisbane Elementary $346,233.62

Pacifica School District $110,183.50

Menlo Park City Elementary $294,718.55

Millbrae Elementary $40,921.05

Ravenswood Elementary $2,231,539.71

Redwood City Elementary $518,384.29

San Bruno Park Elementary $602,477.73

San Mateo-Foster City Elementary $3,298,350.05

Jefferson High School $734,529.34

San Mateo Union $2,764,649.30

Sequoia Union $1,373,821.21

South San Francisco Unified $12,235,009.67

San Mateo County Community College $3,939,326.41

San Mateo County Office of Education $2,049,925.82

Source: San Mateo County Controller's Office

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