California's drought ripples through businesses, then to schools

Lauren Williams's picture
Monday, April 21, 2014

One area that has officials worried is the effect on education in places affected by the drought.

Jane Brittell, the principal at Lorena Falasco Elementary School in Los Banos, a town about 35 miles north of Mendota, says she's worried the drought will force families to leave and pull their kids out of school.

"We have an agricultural community, and even if the student's parents aren't involved in the agricultural field, the community is," Brittell says. "So when that starts to dry up and there's not the money generated for the businesses, employment starts to dwindle and parents have to move for better jobs."

The Los Banos Unified School District could lose up to 5 percent of its students, says Superintendent Steve Tietjen. For a district like Los Banos, with 10,000 students, that's about 500 kids. California distributes education funding based on attendance, so losing students means losing dollars — after years of cutbacks already.

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