Sacramento, CA – Last fall, the small/isolated, rural Leggett Valley Unified School District was put on notice that it would be fined thousands of dollars due to a change in the state’s school funding formula policy that would have penalized the district for having 4-day school weeks, which they had been doing without issue for over twenty years.
Leggett Valley Schools superintendent Anthony Loumena met with Senator McGuire last fall to address the challenge and talk potential solutions. After many months of working collaboratively with the California Department of Education and the state’s Department of Finance, the fines will be forgiven and the 4-day school week will be made permanent.
“This was an incredibly unique situation for one of the most rural school districts in the State. Leggett Valley has two isolated schools, roughly 90 minutes apart. Students and staff trek long distances to get to and from school every day, which is why the District has operated with a 4-day school week successfully for years,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “Penalizing this small district just didn’t make sense, especially since they meet all of their state mandated educational minutes and are meeting their performance standards. We’re grateful to the Governor and State Superintendent Thurmond for their support of the hard working students, teachers and parents of Leggett Valley.”
The total student population of the district is 129 students and the district’s budget is under $2.5 million. The district has been operating with a 4-day school week for over twenty years and over that time has been audited multiple times to ensure the students are receiving the instructional time mandated by the state. When a new funding formula was implemented for school districts by the state, Leggett Valley – one of only two 4-day school districts in the state currently – would have had to pay a fine of $27,000 and would have had to transition to a 5-day school week.
“The Leggett Valley Unified School District is thankful for all the work Senator McGuire and his staff did to make sure that our school district can continue to operate on a four day school week into the future,” said Anthony Loumena, Superintendent of Leggett Valley Unified School District. “As a small rural and isolated district we sometimes think we will not be heard. Senator McGuire heard us and worked on our behalf at a level I did not think was possible because of our size. Our local voice was heard. We are forever thankful for that!”
The change in statute was passed in the budget bill, SB 75 and will allow for Leggett Valley to permanently operate their schools on a four-day school week, as long as they meet their state mandated instructional minutes.