FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BURLINGAME – The 335,000-member California Teachers Association strongly condemns the $80 million November special election that Governor Schwarzenegger is almost certain to declare later today as a waste of taxpayer dollars.
"The governor is wasting taxpayer money to hold an election that nobody wants and to push an agenda that will hurt our public schools, kids and local communities," said CTA President Barbara E. Kerr. "And the plan announced by his advisors to use the election to create a 'phenomenon of anger' against teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public employees breaks his promise to unite our state for the public good."
Recent statewide polls show 62 percent of voters oppose the special election. Casting further doubt on the governor's motives is the fact that none of the initiatives, if approved, would be enacted any sooner than if they were placed on the regular June 2006 primary ballot. At a time when California ranks 44th in the nation in per-pupil education spending, the $80 million cost of the special election would pay for reduced class sizes in nearly 6,000 classrooms, or 4 million new textbooks, or more than 2,300 new teachers.
Governor Schwarzenegger's deceitful "Live Within Our Means Act" would gut the voter-approved education funding requirements in Proposition 98 and would give him new powers to cut school funding even more without consulting anyone else. Poorly written, it could also deprive cities and counties of hundreds of millions of dollars for police, firefighters, healthcare and social service programs. Other initiatives that have qualified for the expected special election ballot would make it harder to recruit and retain quality teachers and would silence the voices of public employees in the political process.
"The governor broke his promises to our schools and kids and now he wants to make sure teachers can't tell anyone," Kerr said. "But the governor should remember that this isn't a Hollywood movie script, and in November teachers, parents, firefighters, nurses and California voters will be writing the ending."