California may not be willing to pay schools to do the things they’re supposed to do. But districts could go to court to be allowed to stop doing them. Those are the results of a court case lodged by San Diego Unified and other California school districts, Education Week reports:

The plaintiffs say they are owed more than $900 million over a several-year period for costs associated with state-mandated programs such as AIDS education, pupil health screening, criminal background checks, and teacher incentives.

… Because a state commission identified a number of education programs as mandates, and the California Constitution requires that such mandates be funded, state lawmakers have sought since 2002 to appropriate as little as $1,000 statewide for each program. The state claims it is deferring full payment of the costs until some later date, a practice identified in court papers as the “Education Credit Card.”

Education Week writes that while the court ruled that school districts won’t get reimbursed for that $900 million because the state is in a budget bind, they school districts could go to court to ask to not have to do the mandated programs.

The thing to watch now: Will San Diego Unified and other local school districts petition to stop doing programs that the state has mandated, since the state isn’t paying for them? Or will they keep doing them and covering the costs themselves?

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter:

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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