About 2,000 people signed a petition to “save” the Southern California Regional Occupational Center, or SoCal ROC, one of the state’s largest and oldest providers of career training for students that advocates fear may be shuttered next year because of changes in how state money is allocated, Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi said Monday. 

The petition was delivered to Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday, said Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, a former SoCal ROC board member who is working to maintain funding for career technical education programs that help prepare students to enter the workforce out of high school. Muratsuchi, who chairs the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, also invited the governor to visit the program, according to a statement from his office.

SoCal ROC and other similar programs previously received dedicated, or categorical, funding from the state. But the Local Control Funding Formula for schools relaxes that dedicated spending and instead allows districts to use the money any way they wish. Advocates fear career tech programs will be weakened or shuttered without dedicated funding. Department of Finance officials countered, however, that districts have vast leeway to fund programs as they see fit and they are not prohibited from spending money to maintain career tech programs.

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