Contact: Sandra Jackson, CTA, 916-325-1550; Julie White, ACSA, 916-329-3832; Brad Sherwood, CSBA, 916-669-3244
The Education Coalition, representing more than 1.7 million parents, teachers, school board members, school employees and administrators, released the following statement today on Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed 2008-09 state budget.
“The Education Coalition appreciates the extraordinary challenges the governor faces in balancing the state’s budget, but we strongly oppose his 2008-09 budget proposal and plans to eviscerate Proposition 98. Our students and schools did not create this budget problem, and their education and future progress shouldn’t be undermined because of it.
“The governor’s budget reductions would be disastrous to public schools. A $4.8 billion cut to Prop. 98 would mean laying off tens of thousands of teachers, statewide increases in class size and the further erosion of the support classified and paraprofessional staff provide to our students. This would threaten the progress that our students are beginning to make. Reading scores are up 25 percent and math scores have increased 17 percent in the last four years. This progress cannot continue with these proposed cuts to our public schools.
“Voters passed Proposition 98, the minimum school funding law, almost 20 years ago. And they overwhelmingly supported it again in 2005. Any proposal to suspend Prop. 98 flies in the face of the will of voters to protect minimum education funding.
“This week Education Week, reported that California spends $1,900 less per student than the national average. The “Getting Down to Facts” studies show that billions more are needed to give our students the opportunity to meet the state’s rigorous academic standards. California has 30 percent fewer teachers and 60 percent fewer principals than the average American school. Other studies show that we have some of the most overcrowded classrooms as well as the greatest shortage of librarians, counselors and other critical support staff in the nation.
“A state budget proposal that looks at cuts alone is not a real solution. We can not talk about spending cuts without also talking about increasing revenues. We must enact a balanced budget that continues the momentum of educational improvement that has been built since the late 1990s. Anything less is unacceptable.”