By Len Feldman
Due to the hard work of educators all across the country this summer, Congress approved the Education Jobs Bill in August, designed to provide education funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The action brings $1.2 billion to California to help retain and rehire about 13,000 educators.
CTA members came out in force with e-mails, letters and texts. More than 10,000 contacts were made with California's senators and representatives in Congress. Educators, including many laid-off members, traveled to Washington, D.C., to show their support for the bill.
Educators voiced to federal leaders the seriousness of the situation in California, which has seen more than 32,000 layoffs over the past three years and already has the largest student-to-teacher ratio in the country.
Under a bill approved by the California Legislature - SB 847 by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) - the money will be sent to local school districts according to a base-revenue-limit formula.
The bill stipulates that all of the money must be used specifically to rehire laid-off educators or restore salary cuts due to state budget cuts. The funds will be available in the 2010-11 school year to "retain, recall, or rehire former employees and to hire new employees to provide early childhood, elementary, or secondary educational services." Money will go out to local school districts by mid-September.
At press time, SB 847 was headed to the governor for his signature.
CTA was joined in its support for the measure by organizations including United Teachers Los Angeles, the California School Employees Association, the League of Women Voters of California, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Santa Ana Unified School District, and the Small School Districts Association.