FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Clinging to the last card in his bag of tricks and hoping for an ace, Governor Schwarzenegger has pulled out another “joker” of a reform with his fatally flawed “Live Within Our Means Act” initiative.
Unfortunately, the joke is on California’s schoolchildren, and parents and teachers don’t consider the Governor’s draconian proposals a laughing matter. Later this week, the Governor will hear from parents and teachers in dozens of cities across California who object to his proposed cuts.
Slashing $4 billion from education spending per year, the equivalent of $600 less per student, the “Live Within Our Means Act” (LWOM) would gut the voter-approved minimum funding provided to our schools through Proposition 98.
“If California voters receive initiative petitions in the mail, they should discard them,” said Barbara E. Kerr, president of the California Teachers Association. “Signing these petitions would be helping the Governor break his word to our kids and schools. This proposal strikes at the heart of our children’s education.”
A clear power-grab by the Governor, LWOM would eliminate the legislature’s authority to reject bad ideas, like further cuts to education.
Had LWOM been in place during Schwarzenegger’s first two years in office, he would’ve eliminated funding for programs like Healthy Start, School-to-Career Counseling, and contributions to the State Teachers Retirement System. It would also have allowed cuts in funding for the California State University and University of California below the level needed to fund enrollment growth, without the Legislature’s approval.
Even under Governor Gray Davis, LWOM would’ve allowed the Governor to single-handedly reduce the level of funding for class-size reduction efforts, without approval from the legislature.
For a complete list of education and other programs that would have been decimated had LWOM been enacted under both Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger, please visit www.allianceforabetterca.org.
Despite a recent report by the RAND Corporation concluding that California's schools were under-funded, its class sizes too large and its teachers underpaid, the Governor’s LWOM initiative cuts billions more from our public schools. California ranks 44th out of 50 states in funding for public schools. California schools already have suffered more than $9.8 billion in cuts.