FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRESNO – Local members of the California Education Coalition today discussed the impact of Governor Schwarzenegger’s broken promises to education prior to a legislative Education Town Hall meeting at Fresno High School.
Local parents, teachers, school employees and administrators highlighted the fact that Governor Schwarzenegger has broken his word to California’s students and schools on two fronts, withholding $2 billion in this year’s budget and proposing changes to the voter approved Proposition 98 that would eliminate the minimum funding protections for schools.
“Last year at this time, the one million members of the California State PTA worked with this Governor on a solution for the state’s budget problem – a problem that was not created by our kids,” said Tiia Bullen, 11th District PTA President of Fresno County. “This Governor promised that $2 billion in funding for our schools would be restored and that our kids would receive their fair share of any additional state revenues. He has broken his promise and once again our kids and our schools will suffer.”
Governor Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal underfunds Proposition 98; it reneges on his promise to our schools and students by withholding $2 billion; and will only lead to more school closures, larger class sizes, additional layoffs of teachers and school support personnel, and the elimination of key student programs.
“In the past four years, California’s schools have endured billions in funding cuts,” said Sandy Menezes, a 2nd grade teacher in the Oak Valley School District. “As a parent and a classroom teacher I see how these cuts impact our local schools every day. It's harder for kids to learn when they are sharing textbooks. It’s harder for us to give our kids the individual attention they need and deserve with larger class sizes. The bottom line is the Governor needs to keep his promise to our schools and our students.”
During his campaign for Governor, Schwarzenegger promised to protect Proposition 98, a law passed by voters that guarantees minimum funding for our schools. Now, the Governor is proposing changes that would eliminate the funding protections the voters put into place with the initiative.
“The Governor’s proposed spending plan for education may be a first step, but it’s a poor first step. The long-term ramifications to our schools—and the children we educate—are sobering at best and beg for meaningful and serious dialogue,” said Larry E. Reider, Kern County Superintendent of Schools. “His plan would institute mid-year cuts, which would be devastating. There has to be a better way to do the state’s business of educating our children.”
The Education Coalition also launched a statewide radio ad campaign earlier this week as part of its campaign to protect basic school funding in California.