If the state can raid local funding, why shouldn’t local entities try to do the same?

That seems to be the approach taken by the Sweetwater Unified School District, who last year leant itself $40 million from bond money to cover general expenses. It paid it back.

This year, they are looking to again issue themselves the loan, this time for more than $50 million.

The question comes: is it legal?

State law mandates that money raised through bond efforts must be spent for reasons set forth on the bond itself. However, law also states that money can be temporarily transferred for other purposes.

The loans are used to cover the state’s debts, and are a bridge loan until money arrives from Sacramento.

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Bond money meant to modernize and construct new buildings at South County schools is being diverted to operating expenses, a move that may conflict with thestate Constitution.

The Sweetwater Union High School District says the transfer is temporary, allowed by the California Education Code, and is in response to a shortage of cash due to money taken from their budget by Sacramento.

The district borrowed and repaid $40 million from Proposition O money in the 2009-2010 school year and is looking to borrow $58 million for the school year that ends June 30, said the district’s chief financial officer, Dianne Russo.

Read the full article here.