Contact: Mike Myslinski at 650-552-5324 or Jonathan Goldman at 650-552-5320
BURLINGAME – To protect our students and public schools from even deeper cuts, California’s teachers are calling on the Legislature to end the state budget stalemate by approving the original legislative Conference Committee Budget package and rejecting any budget reform schemes that threaten Proposition 98, the voter-approved minimum school funding law. A state budget vote could come Sunday.
Approved by voters 20 years ago and reaffirmed by them again in 2005, Prop. 98 is the safety net that provides stable minimum funding levels for California’s school districts and 6.3 million students. California already ranks 46th in the nation on what it spends per student, and dead last in the number of counselors, librarians and school nurses per pupil.
“The Conference Committee Budget plan is the responsible, balanced solution to the state budget crisis,” said David A. Sanchez, president of the 340,000-member CTA. “Time is running out as many schools and community colleges are about to start or have already started classes. Schools need a state budget now to plan ahead and avoid making additional cuts. Teachers strongly oppose any attacks on Prop. 98 disguised as budget reform schemes that would shortchange our students even more.”
Balancing cuts with new revenue to close the state’s $15 billion state budget deficit, the legislative Conference Committee Budget Report proposal closes tax loopholes and provides new and steady sources of revenue to protect public education and other vital state services. The Conference Committee budget solution would also restore $2.4 billion of the $4.3 billion in education cuts contained in the governor’s May Revision, reinstating funds for vital and proven programs such as Class Size Reduction.
Sanchez noted that public schools have already suffered more than $500 million in unexpected budget cuts this year – forcing the layoff of many teachers and education support professionals, as well as the elimination of art, music, and vocational education programs that engage students and help them succeed.
CTA is asking everyone who cares about the future of public schools to call their lawmakers – using the toll-free CTA “Cuts Hurt” hotline of 1-888-268-4334 – and urge them to vote for the original Conference Committee Budget Report and vote against any measures designed to eviscerate the minimum school funding law. More information about the CTA campaign for a fair budget solution is at www.cta.org.