FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SACRAMENTO - Nearly 200 educators from across the state joined California Teachers Association President Barbara E. Kerr today in calling on legislators to support the governor's May Revision budget proposal that would restore all money owed to public schools and help close the achievement gap.
"These much needed funds will help close the achievement gap for students in our neediest schools and those learning to speak English," Kerr said at a news conference. "The repayment dollars would move us forward, but we must build on this commitment so we can provide adequate long-term resources for all our schools."
Under the revised budget proposal, schools and community colleges would receive all of the money owed under Proposition 98, including education's share of additional revenues. As part of the payment agreement, public education would receive more than $5 billion, including $2 billion in this fiscal year. An additional $3 billion, to be repaid over seven years, would go to our schools of greatest need and community colleges to help close the achievement gap.
The funds will help protect librarians and counselors from potential layoffs in the 47,000-student Sacramento City Unified School District, said Marcie Launey, president of Sacramento City Teachers Association. "Our schools need the money because they have never really had enough funding."
In the Bay Area, that money could be used to restore counselor reductions and other cuts in the 31,000-student West Contra Costa Unified School District, said teacher Gail Mendes, president of the union representing district educators, United Teachers of Richmond. "By targeting our schools of greatest need, the repayment money will be used to reduce class sizes, improve teacher and principal training, and increase parental involvement," Mendes said. "These are all proven remedies for helping students."
Los Angeles County teachers also lobbied lawmakers today. "This money will go far towards helping our neediest students," said educator Sarah Ross in the 33,000-student Pomona Unified School District, where nearly 73 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches. The district has ended smaller classes in kindergarten and third grade, and has cut counselors and school nurses, said Ross, president of Associated Pomona Teachers. "These funds are good news for students and teachers."