Sweetwater school district says it won’t accept $12M loan from county office of education

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SAN DIEGO — On Wednesday night, the San Diego County Office of Education voted to provide Sweetwater Union High School District with a $12 million loan.

The loan is being made available to help Sweetwater schools pay off another loan that was due last month.

The district has been borrowing Mello Roos funds — money it’s supposed to get years from now. In a sense, it is borrowing its own money, but their loans that have to be paid back on time — something the district has not been able to do.

“All the money that they borrowed from themselves in the prior year had to be paid back by June 30 of 2019,” said County of Education Deputy Superintendent Mike Simonson. “They were unable to completely pay themselves back.”

The San Diego County Office of Education has a policy of lending money to districts as a way to keep them solvent. One of the contingencies of the loan is that the district has to pay back 2.3 percent in interest the money would have earned otherwise.

District board members have said they plan on taking out another loan rather than pay back interest on the loan being offered by the San Diego County Office of Education, which voted 4-1 to make the money available.

If the district accepts the money, it has to repay it by June of 2020.

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