State schools shortchanged says study

A recently released report from the California State Controller’s Office states that California school districts were improperly shorted more than $40 million by redevelopment agencies.
Controller John Chiang’s report was released weeks before an anticipated showdown between Gov. Jerry Brown and a group of Republican lawmakers over how to close a $26.6 million budget shortfall this spring. Brown is proposing a plan to close the state’s redevelopment agencies to reallocate more than $1.7 billion to local school districts and governments.
Municipal leaders throughout the state oppose the plan, which they say will deprive them of a necessary economic engine, as well as an effective way to eliminate blight.
City leaders, including those in Culver City, have been moving to protect redevelopment assets in recent weeks.
Chiang announced on Jan. 24 that he would be reviewing 18 redevelopment agencies to see if the governor’s plan had merit.
Proponents of Brown’s plan cited Chiang’s investigation as proof that there is too much waste and mismanagement in redevelopment agencies and the recouped funds could be put to better use, such as education.
Palm Desert used funds that typically go to enhance blighted areas to improve a luxury golf course, and the city of Hercules paid almost $40,000 to a lobbyist.
Hercules was one of 12 cities cited by the state Office of Oversight and Outcomes on a Sept. 30 review of 12 redevelopment agencies that questioned the agencies use of affordable housing funds as well as how the fund were allocated. Culver City was also named in the report and has hired Redevelopment Reporting Solutions of Brea to review several areas of concern in its redevelopment agency raised last September by a state redevelopment oversight board.