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STOCKTON, Calif. — A serious but overlooked problem caused by the budget deficits facing California is the increasing number of private contractors filling positions previously held by state employees.

Scarcity of funding for state-funded institutions, such as our public schools and local government agencies, has led to private contractors filling vacant positions, generally until replacement employees are found. However, recent revelations of conflict-of-interest violations by L.A. County school officials — involving the hiring of contractors — reveal the danger this practice poses.

California’s schools, already forced to downsize both classes and teachers, now face the loss of millions of much-need dollars from an internal foe. Threatened again are both my ability to complete my higher-education degree and my ability to return the favor for future generations.

A Los Angeles Times article reported that Los Angeles County will put enhanced scrutiny on its contractors in government and public funded employment in light of several startling allegations. The criminal charges of misconduct and misuse of funds filed against the former superintendent of Beverly Hills Unified School District Jeffrey Hubbard and facilities director Karen Christiansen reveal an internal foe California schools must battle.

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