Schools Face Impact of Drought – Children Hit Hardest
The 10,000-student district is in the San Joaquin Valleyâ€”the nationâ€™s agricultural epicenterâ€”which stretches from Fresno to Bakersfield. The severe water shortage here has forced some farmers to reduce the acreage they plant, leaving far fewer jobs for farmworkers. Garza said some of Kings Canyonâ€™s familiesâ€”almost 90 percent of whom are poor and Hispanicâ€”have been forced to seek work elsewhere and, as a result, enrollment dropped by 200 students in 2014-15. That equates to a roughly $1 million loss in state funding.
â€œWe feed the world here in this valley,â€ explained Anita Betancourt, the districtâ€™s adult and parent program coordinator and a Reedley City Council member. â€œBut [without water], thereâ€™s no work. If families have to move from here to there to find work, the children are going to be displaced.â€
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