The Blog

Assembly Approves Resolution Urging Congress to Block Automatic Cuts to California, Schools

(Photo above): Assembly Member Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) makes the case for her AJR 14, a measure that puts the state Assembly on record as pressing Congress to avoid the automatic cuts that would slash federal education funding in California by about $262 million.

The day before automatic cuts in federal spending were scheduled to start, the California Assembly approved ACR 14, a resolution urging Congress to head off the “sequestration” that would cost California public schools about $262 million.

The resolution, authored by Assembly Member Atkins, secured 54 votes for approval, but even those voting against it said they wanted Congress to derail the automatic reductions.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers noted that the cuts would decimate a range of programs in California, including safety programs at airports and federal law enforcement efforts.

CTA and our national affiliate – NEA – have been urging Congress to take steps to keep the automatic cuts from taking place. While some services could be hampered as early as March 1, it is believed that public schools in California may not feel the full brunt of the additional reductions until March 27.

For more information and to learn about what you can do to help, go to CTA's Legislative Action Center.

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Make a Call: Help Protect $262 Million in Federal School Funding

You can help block cuts that would cost California schools more than $262 million over the next 10 months.

All it takes is a toll-free phone call to your Congressional representative to urge her/him to block the across-the-board or “sequestration” cuts that will slash key programs.

While some automatic cuts are set to take effect on March 1 if Congress doesn’t act, schools in California will begin to feel the full impact on March 27.

(To make the call, simply dial the NEA Educator Connector Line, 1-866-293-7278.  You’ll be put through to your representative in Congress. For more information and for talking points, see CTA's Legislative Action Center.)

For California this means a loss of: ·
  • $91 million for Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, intended to improve education for disadvantaged students;
  • $72 million in special education funding for programs that serve the needs of students width disabilities;
  • $2.8 million for public charter schools;
  • $6.9 million for Career and Technical Education; $9.6 million in funding for English learners; and
  • $3.7 million in Impact Aid affecting students in federally impacted school districts in California, including children of active duty service members.
Follow the conversation on Twitter: #kidsnotcuts and #jobsnotcuts.

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Supt. Torlakson: CA Schools Will Lose $262M if Congress Doesn’t Act

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is warning that California schools will lose $262 million in federal aid if Congress doesn’t act to head off the looming automatic cuts set to take effect on Friday.

The superintendent is calling on Congress to avoid the automatic cuts – called “sequestration” – by taking action to protect public education.

“After years of extensive state and federal budget cuts to education, these cuts will devastate communities across California…. These automatic cuts will cause long-lasting and irreparable harm,” the superintendent cautioned in a written statement released by his office.

Supt. Torlakson cited these specific cuts in funding for California schools that will be triggered by “sequestration”:
  • $91 million for Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, intended to improve education for disadvantaged students;
  • $72 million in special education funding for programs that serve the needs of students width disabilities;
  • $2.8 million for public charter schools;
  • $6.9 million for Career and Technical Education;
  • $9.6 million in funding for English learners; and
  • $3.7 million in Impact Aid affecting students in federally impacted school districts in California, including children of active duty service members.

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Capitol News: Educators Lobby Congress on School Funding, School Safety, and Dream Act

The U.S. Capitol may be thousands of miles away, but the voices of California educators and education support professionals are heard there loudly through the efforts of CTA/National  Education Association Directors and our national affiliate.

Last month, CTA/NEA Directors traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet width the California Congressional delegation on critical issues before federal lawmakers.

On the financial side, the CTA/NEA Directors pressed Republican and Democratic Congresspersons to find a compromise that will head off automatic cuts in federal programs, including services that will hurt children, public schools, and public workers.  The NEA Directors also asked congress to take positive steps to head off the “sequestration” or automatic funding cuts that threaten to throw the economy back into recession and reduce revenues that underwrite public services.

The directors have been battling the automatic cuts that as early as March 1 would:
  • Cut education programs by another 8.2%.
  • Propel funding backward to 2003 levels.
  • Slash $135 billion in Title 1 funding for California.
  • Reduce funding for IDEA in the state by another $100 million.
  • Pare appropriations for Impact Aid by $5.2 million.
  • And reduce funding for the Head Start program by an additional $78 million.
They made sure federal legislators understood that cuts of  that magnitude would force districts to reduce staff, increase class size, shorten school days or weeks, reducing activities and enrichment programs and delay the purchases of instructional materials and technology.

In addition, the CTA/NEA representatives talked to federal lawmakers about steps they can take to make schools safer and prevent gun violence. They advocated a three-element approach.  First, expanding background checks to weed our would-be purchasers who should not be in possession of firearms. Second, providing more services for persons width mental illnesses.  And, third, a providing schools width the flexibility and authority to make decisions about implementing further school safety measures and hiring school safety personnel.

The member lobbyists also sought the passage of the “Dream Act,” which will help long-time U.S. residents afford college. The Directors also called for passage of this measure as part of a comprehensive immigration reform. Among its benefits, the Dream Act would allow long-time residents who have graduated high school to pursue a college education.  As college  graduates, they would help meet the nation’s needs for college-educated workers while providing tax revenue to underwrite vital services, including public education.

The Directors noted that state and local taxpayers have invested in the education of these youngsters.  The state and the nation would benefit from that investment because of the Dream Act’s provisions.

For more information, see the NEA Legislative Action Center at the NEA website – nea.org.

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