Contact: Robin Swanson (916) 204-6890
Just as California’s schools are bracing for another devastating $10.8 billion in proposed cuts, the Governor’s budget plan illegally manipulates Prop. 98, the state’s minimum school funding law, to permanently cut at least $7 billion from California’s students, in violation of the California Constitution. (See S.F Chronicle: “Governor makes a grab for state school funds.”)
The Governor’s attack on Prop. 98 is an irresponsible assault on California’s students, with devastating, irreparable consequences.
The Governor’s unlawful interpretation of Prop. 98 would eliminate the “maintenance factor” credit to schools in the 2008-09 budget, thereby permanently reducing the minimum funding base for schools and shortchanging education by an estimated $7-9 billion year after year. That is an ongoing cut of more than $30,000 to every California classroom.
Voters have repeatedly affirmed their strong support for the state’s minimum school funding law, rejecting all attempts to undermine Prop. 98 time and again, including the overwhelming defeat of the Governor’s initiative in 2005.
It’s time for our state’s leaders to be honest with voters about cuts being made to education. We call on all lawmakers to reject this illegal manipulation of Prop. 98 that further reduces school funding.
This latest attempt to permanently cut California’s schools would ensure that the state’s abysmal national ranking of 47th in per-pupil spending would likely fall to dead last.
School districts across the state are already threatening to lay off tens of thousands of teachers, on top of the 5,000 teachers who have already lost their jobs. In addition, nearly 9,000 bus drivers, custodians, food service workers and other school employees have already been laid off, with more to come.
These cuts mean class sizes will swell, arts, music and sports programs will be eliminated, and there will be fewer options for students to get to and from school. California already has some of the most overcrowded classrooms and the greatest shortages of librarians, counselors and other critical support staff in the nation.
The Education Coalition represents more than 2.5 million teachers, parents, administrators, school board members, school employees and other education advocates. For more information, please visit our web site at www.protectourstudents.org.