FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LOS ANGELES – The top governing body of the California Teachers Association voted overwhelmingly today for a $60 temporary dues assessment to protect minimum funding to our public schools and to ensure the concerns of teachers, students and parents are heard if the governor calls a wasteful special election.
"California teachers are upset with the governor's broken promises to our students and schools," CTA President Barbara E. Kerr said today after the nearly unanimous vote. "We didn't pick this fight, but this vote clearly shows teachers have never been more united than they are today. Educators across the state are opposed to the governor's destructive agenda that won't help improve student learning one bit."
The 800 teacher delegates who comprise the CTA State Council of Education are democratically elected by CTA's 335,000 members across the state. The nearly unanimous vote came despite a deceptive campaign by the governor to divide CTA members. The dues increase proposal was announced in March. Council delegates then met with teachers in their local communities to get their input. The temporary assessment will last for up to three years and will raise about $50 million.
"We can't hold $100,000-a-plate fundraisers with CEOs like the governor does, but I am more than willing to do what needs to be done to make sure my students have the resources they need to succeed," said Tony Diaz, a third-grade teacher in Long Beach Unified School District. "California has some of the highest academic standards in the country. If the governor gets his way and can cut funding even more, it will be harder and harder for students to meet those standards."
In the Bay Area, sixth-grade teacher Gail Mendes has seen huge cuts in her West Contra Costa Unified School District. "The governor talks about schools having enough money, but my school district is suffering from all kinds of cutbacks. We've had hundreds of teachers laid off in recent years and virtually all of our arts and vocational education programs have been eliminated."
On Monday, the governor is expected to call his special election for November that will cost the state $80 million.
On the November ballot will be the governor's deceitful "Live Within Our Means Act" to gut the school funding guarantees approved by voters in Proposition 98 and give him new powers to unilaterally cut school funds even further. His "Putting Kids First" ballot measure against teacher due process rights is unnecessary and will make it harder to recruit and retain quality teachers in our classrooms.
The governor's allies are also backing a ballot measure to silence the voices of teachers and all public employees in the political process.
"The governor broke his promises to teachers, schools and kids, and now wants to use what we call his 'paycheck deception' initiative to make sure we can't tell anyone about it," CTA President Kerr said. "Teachers had to fight to win professional rights, smaller class sizes in our lower grades, and school funding guarantees in Proposition 98. We refuse to let this governor roll back all of that progress."