Contact: Robin Swanson (916) 204-6890
Though Prop 1B, which would have restored $9 billion of the funds cut from our public schools, did not escape Californians’ rejection of the budget package due to their frustration with a bad budget process, the majority of voters in our state remain unequivocal about their support for our schools and students.
Time and again, voters have said that education should be protected from cuts, and that we should invest in our students and our state’s future. A PPIC poll released this year concluded that 60 percent of Californians would most like to protect K-12 public education from cuts and that “more Californians say they would rather pay higher taxes and have a state government that provides more services than pay lower taxes and have a state government that provides fewer services.”
Though our students did not create this budget mess, they are already paying an unfair price for it. With California schools already ranking 47th in the nation in per-pupil spending, the Governor’s May Revise proposal to cut an additional $5.4 billion from education would drop our state to dead last in the investment we make in our students. Although education only represents 40 percent of the state budget, our schools have already been subjected to 60 percent of the cuts.
In the meantime, class sizes are on the rise, while arts, music, sports, advanced placement, special needs and other essential programs are on the chopping block, being eliminated from the curriculum. School bus service has been eliminated and parents will now have to find other ways to get their children to school. Para-educators are being cut, leaving our most vulnerable students without the one-on-one assistance that helps them catch up to their peers. And with historic numbers of teachers, administrators and school employees facing unprecedented layoffs, more and more students are being left behind.
Further cuts are simply unimaginable. After decades of budget cuts and being forced to do “more with less,” California’s schools now rank at the very bottom of all 50 states in staff-to-student ratios, and nearly last in the nation in per-pupil spending. Currently, the typical American school has 30 percent more teachers than California, 61 percent more school site administrators and 92 percent more counselors.
With California ranking nearly last in the nation in per-pupil funding, the Education Coalition remains committed to finding long-term solutions to the chronic underfunding of our public schools, and to addressing the needs of all students.
We strive to create a public school system where students can thrive in small class sizes with up-to-date textbooks and state-of-the-art technology, in schools with updated facilities. We want them to work with educators who have access to ongoing training and mentoring to ensure that they are able to do the best job possible of motivating our students to learn. We hope to create a prevailing and contagious outlook that all students deserve a chance to succeed, with the financial resources to make it happen.
The Education Coalition represents more than 2.5 million teachers, parents, administrators, school board members, school employees and other education advocates in California. For more information, please visit our website at: www.protectourstudents.org.