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Santa Cruz County Office of Education: Building Confidence through Clarity
by Santa Cruz County Grand Jury
Thursday Jan 23rd, 2014 12:21 PM
There are nearly 40,000 K-12 students enrolled in public schools in Santa Cruz County. They attend school in ten diverse local school districts, ranging in enrollment from 110 to nearly 20,000. All of these districts are served by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education (SCCOE), which offers an impressive array of services. Two examples that stand out are the mental health services provided by the Student Support Services Department and the Regional Occupational Program (ROP) which provides students with the academics and job skills to find meaningful employment.

When the Grand Jury learned that SCCOE had a large budget surplus during times of fiscal restraint, we investigated how education in Santa Cruz County is funded, how the SCCOE surplus was amassed, what services SCCOE provides to local school districts, and how funds are disbursed from the county level to individual districts. This investigation provides insights into educational funding at the state and local levels, the relationship between SCCOE and local districts, and the services provided by the county office.

Although SCCOE offers financial support to every district in the county, it lacks policies for maintaining reserves beyond those required by the state and for allocating excess funds. Furthermore, SCCOE is not guided by well-defined procedures and policies for the application, disbursement, and utilization of financial support to local school districts.

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Press Release

Santa Cruz County Grand Jury

2012-2013 Final Report

Jan 14, 2014, Santa Cruz, CA - A corrected response to the 2013 Grand Jury Final Report

Santa Cruz County Office of Education: Building Confidence through Clarity

has been posted on the Grand Jury website. This replaces the response previously released on November 15, 2013.

County citizens are encouraged to review the reports and responses. We believe the information available through the Grand Jury Report and the received responses will be helpful in communications with our elected officials and governing bodies for the topics investigated in 2012-2013.


About the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury

The Grand Jury is comprised of 19 local citizen volunteers charged with ensuring that county and city departments and special districts function in the best interests of county residents. The Grand Jury acts as a watchdog over local government agencies, and serves three primary functions: to audit local governmental agencies and officials; to investigate citizen complaints; and to publish its investigative findings and recommendations to improve governmental operations. For additional information or press inquiries, please call Foreperson Nell Griscom at the Grand Jury at (831) 454-2099 or email grandjury [at]

Nell Griscom
Cruz County Grand Jury 2013-2014