FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dean Vogel speaks at John Muir Middle School
SAN JOSE – Hundreds of members of the California Education Coalition held a massive rally today at John Muir Middle School in San Jose to save Proposition 98 and highlight the impact of Governor Schwarzenegger's broken promises on education.
About 1,000 Silicon Valley area parents, teachers, school employees, school board members and administrators told the crowd 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 – changes which would eliminate the minimum funding protections for schools.
"Governor Schwarzenegger's budget proposal underfunds Proposition 98 and reneges on his promise to our schools and students," said Dean Vogel, Secretary Treasurer of the California Teachers Association. "Here in the Silicon Valley, the Governor's proposals will lead to more school closures, larger class sizes, additional layoffs of teachers and school support personnel, and the elimination of key student programs. We can't expect our students to meet the high standards we set for them without providing the resources they need to succeed. They deserve better."
Nearly 1,000 Silicon Valley citizens urged governor to keep promise to schools and students
Saving Prop. 98 emphasized in rally
"Last year at this time, the Education Coalition worked with this Governor on a solution for the state's budget problem – a problem that was not created by our kids," said Laura Casas-Frier of the Sixth District PTA. "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."
Two recent independent reports concluded that California's schools were underfunded, had some of the largest class sizes in the country and inadequate teacher salaries. A recent "Quality Counts 2005" report by Education Week notes California ranked 44th in the nation in per-pupil funding. New Jersey and New York, for example, spend 50 percent MORE PER PUPIL than does California. At the same time, studies credit California for having the highest student standards and accountability assessments of any state in the nation.
"The Governor says he's not cutting public education, but in reality his plan calls for withholding $2.3 billion of funding owed to schools," said Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools Colleen Wilcox. "The people passed Prop. 98 to assure minimal school funding and prevent politicians from balancing the budget on the backs of our children. It must be preserved!"
The Education Coalition consists of organizations representing more than a million parents, teachers, school board members, school employees and administrators.