Today’s show focuses on demystifying several concepts often talked about, but not often explained. First up is school receivership. What is it? How does it work, when does it happen? Next, municipal bonding. It’s kind of like a home mortgage, but for critical services and infrastructure. The second half of the program focuses on housing: we hear about how the code enforcement team in Sacramento County does its work. And finally, how will California solve its housing crisis, complicated by homelessness and people displaced by fires?
What is School Receivership?
“Receivership” is a status California school districts can move into when they request, and are granted, an emergency loan from the state to stay solvent. It is not bankruptcy and it doesn’t happen often. There are a lot of questions about what receivership means. How many districts are currently in receivership, or have been at risk of being in receivership? What are the mechanisms that move a district into receivership? And how do districts get out of receivership? In May 2019, host Beth Ruyak delved into these questions — and others — with Caryn Moore, Director of the School Fiscal Services Division for the California Department of Education.
What is Municipal Bonding?
Recent discussions about municipal bonds and bonding might have illuminated various ways budget numbers can work. But, unless this is the world you work in, bonding can be pretty mysterious. Here’s a short explanation: bonding is a way to raise money. It’s essentially a loan that has to be paid back with interest, not unlike a home mortgage. But how does bonding actually work? In June 2019, we invited Patrick Murphy for a wide ranging discussion to delve into the topic. He’s policy director of fiscal and governance reform and a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.
We’re going to switch gears for the second half of today’s Insight program. In 2017, California lawmakers were focused on bills to address the state’s affordable housing crisis. At that time, CapRadio’s project, The View from Here: Place and Privilege podcast series captured the work of 4 reporters who spent most of a year exploring various aspects of housing problems. In one episode, Not Up to Code, former CapRadio reporter Amy Quinton, tracked her ride along with Sacramento County’s Code Enforcement team.
Affordable Housing in California
Affordable housing issues continue to pose a statewide crisis for renters and homeowners across California. But in the fall of 2017 - as now - wildfires pushed the crisis into an emergency in a number of locations. At that time, host Beth Ruyak spoke with Ben Metcalf, the Director of Housing and Community Development. Governor Jerry Brown was still in office and Director Metcalf discussed a package of housing bills making their way through the legislature. Metcalf put California’s housing emergency into perspective.