State education bill could bring money to county

A bill currently on the governor's desk could bring hundreds of thousands of dollars to San Mateo County by modifying a state rule for certain county education payments, according to state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo.

According to Yee, Senate Bill 418, authored by state Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, would provide San Mateo County with an extra $250,000 to $300,000 each year by creating a new formula for county payments to licensed children's institutions (LCIs), which offer services to severely disabled children.

Currently, San Mateo and Marin counties are the only counties in the state with excess Educational Revenue Augmentation Funds (ERAF), which are used to support public education programs, according to Yee's office.

The state has been requiring the two counties to allocate the excess money for LCIs, private placement programs that are usually paid forfrom the state's general fund, according to Yee's office.

“This current allocation structure places an ongoing multi-million dollar burden on San Mateo and Marin counties,” Yee said in a written statement. “These facilities provide support to children predominantly from other counties, yet taxpayers in San Mateo and Marin have unfairly been forced to assume the costs,” Yee said.

Under SB 418, counties with excess ERAF would only have to direct up to 50 percent of the excess to LCIs, and the rest would be paid for by the state, Yee's office reported.

“SB 418 ensure that the State fulfills its obligations to these special needs children,” Yee said.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has until Oct. 14 to sign or veto the bill, which according to Yee has received bipartisan support.

— Bay City News

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