The Legislative Analyst’s Office is taking issue with Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to remove restrictions limiting how school districts can use money from the sale of district property. The LAO wants to add a condition intended to make a district carefully weigh the option of selling district property to plug a hole in its general operating budget.
Until the recession, with few exceptions, districts had to put money from the sale of district land and buildings into a capital account for building repairs or future construction. But in 2009, to give districts more options to deal with the recession, the Legislature temporarily allowed districts to spend the proceeds from the sale of property purchased entirely with district funds on one-time general operating expenses. These are defined as “costs that are nonrecurring in nature and do not commit the school district to incur costs in the future.” Only eight districts have taken advantage of the offer so far, according to LAO analyst Paul Golaszewski. San Bruno Park School District in San Mateo County was among them and spent $12 million from the sale of a shuttered school site on textbooks, technology upgrades and non-capital equipment – among the uses permitted, according to an interim report by the State Office of Public School Construction.