By Len Feldman and Mike Myslinski
CTA and its Education Coalition partners are mobilizing their more than 1 million members to urge legislators to support the Assembly’s proposed state spending plan — the “Jobs Budget” — which provides schools with $5.1 billion more than would come through Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget.
“California’s public schools and our students have been devastated by more than $17 billion in cuts already,” says CTA President David A. Sanchez. “The approval of the Assembly Jobs Budget would mark a crucial turnaround and a move toward restoring desperately needed funding.”
Pink-slipped Bay Area teacher Niko Villars knows firsthand about the human toll from so many cuts to education. He is one of about 16,000 educators with no job to come back to in the fall, according to CTA layoff estimates at press time in mid-June.
For the third year in a row, the Concord High School teacher in the hard-hit Mt. Diablo Unified School District got a pink slip — never thinking it would be permanent. He made life-changing plans. He recently bought a house in Oakland, and is due to get married on July 10. Then he got word he was one of nearly 200 Mt. Diablo educators to lose their jobs.
“This is a huge blow,” Villars said. “I thought losing my job was not a likely possibility this year.”
Like so many teachers, he is fed up with the roller-coaster layoff ride disrupting his personal life and his commitment to teaching. “I love teaching. But last year I found out about three weeks before the first day of school that I was going to have a job.”
The Jobs Budget was unveiled by Assembly Speaker John Perez May 25 at CTA Presidents Lobby Day. Under the Assembly proposal, education and other critical children’s services would not suffer any
additional cuts. In fact, public schools would receive $5.1 billion more in vital education funding than the governor’s May Revision proposes.
The Assembly budget proposal increases revenues, honors the commitment made less than a year ago by the governor and the Legislature to California’s students, and does not suspend or
manipulate the Proposition 98 constitutional funding guarantee.
By contrast, the governor’s proposal would cut another $4.1 billion from schools, on top of $17 billion cut in previous years. The Assembly plan would also increase funding for the CSU by $365 million without enacting draconian cuts to basic state services and K-12 education.
While the Senate’s budget version also contains more school funding than the governor’s, it falls far short of the amounts in the Assembly version.
As the Educator went to press, members of a joint conference committee on the budget were deliberating over each provision of the separate Assembly and Senate spending plan versions. The conferees’ job is to forge a compromise budget that will go back to each house of the Legislature for approval.
CTA advocates emphasize that educators getting in touch with their state senator can help ensure that the Assembly’s proposal for funding public schools is incorporated into the final spending plan.
CTA members are also being urged to sign up for budget news bulletins and calls to action that may come when most schools are closed for the summer. To sign up, send an e-mail from a non-school account to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related Tags: Volume 14 Issue 9, Action, Inside Educator, Educator, Budget, Jobs, Layoffs, Legislation, Member, Advocate,