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Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 6/15/20 PM

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State Claims Bay Area Cities Owe Them Hundreds Of Millions / UC Supports Restoring Affirmative Action

State Claims Bay Area Cities Owe Them Hundreds Of Millions 

Five Bay Area counties should be forced to repay millions to a state education fund, according to the California Department of Finance.

San Francisco officials estimate the city could be liable for a 180 million dollar repayment this year. And it doesn't stop there. San Francisco, and four other counties, stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars every year going forward. This comes on top of local budgets that have been decimated by the coronavirus. 

The finance department alleges that San Francisco, San Mateo, Napa, Marin and Santa Clara counties took money meant for schools and treated it as a budget windfall. And here’s where it gets complicated - the state argues that the counties misinterpreted a formula that determines whether they’ve put tax money into something called the Education Revenue Augmentation Fund or E-RAF for short. 

Much of the money at issue has already been spent. And the counties argue it has been properly allocated. San Francisco used its funds to address homelessness, housing, teacher salaries and energy independence.

In a letter to state legislators, county board presidents stated:

“The proposal is unfairly punitive and improper, especially given the significant fiscal challenges facing our counties.”

They described it as premature and harmful and urged legislators to reject it.

This matter is likely to end up in court unless the parties can reach a compromise. 

UC Supports Restoring Affirmative Action

The University of California’s governing board is unanimously backing a measure that would restore affirmative action programs at its schools. The proposed ballot measure would repeal the controversial voter-approved statewide ban that's been blamed for a decline in diversity in the prestigious university system. The vote today by the university system's Board of Regents means the UC endorses a proposal that would ask voters in November to repeal 1996's Proposition 209. It banned “preferential treatment” for minority groups applying to state colleges and government jobs. The state Assembly approved the measure last week and it still must pass the state Senate to go on the Nov. 3 ballot.