Contact: Mike Myslinski at 408-921-5769 or Sandra Jackson at 916-325-1550
SACRAMENTO – More than 200 teachers from across the state are meeting with their local legislators at the Capitol today, asking them face-to-face to fully fund Proposition 98, the state’s minimum school funding law. The educators and education support professionals are in Sacramento as part of a California Teachers Association Lobby Day.
“Lawmakers must restore the $364 million in Proposition 98 funding owed to our schools. Our students and schools have been making progress. Now is not the time to be looking at making cuts to basic education programs,” said Barbara E. Kerr, president of the 340,000-member CTA. “California has world-class academic standards, but our schools continue to struggle with below-average state funding.”
Recent studies by Stanford University show that California schools need at least 40 percent more funding in order to help all students reach the state goals that have been set for them.
Teachers are also asking legislators to support the governor’s proposed 4.53 percent cost-of-living-adjustment for schools and community colleges, to restore funding to the High Priority Schools Grant Program to help lower-performing schools, and to protect retirement funding for a program that maintains the purchasing power of our oldest retired teachers. In addition, educators are sharing information about much needed changes to the federal No Child Left Behind Act, asking lawmakers to join teachers in supporting changes to this federal law.
Educators like Jeff Siler from Perris Elementary School District in Riverside County told lawmakers to leave the approximately $100 million from the High Priority Schools Grant Program 2006-07 budget in the program to help schools of greatest need, instead of using the money for other purposes.
“We are using these grants to close achievement gaps and make a huge difference in our district,” said Siler, president of the Perris Elementary Teachers Association. “Losing this money would hurt our schools and our students.”
Closing the $364 million gap in Prop. 98 funding is also crucial because schools are already counting on that funding for local programs, said KC Walsh, a teacher in San Jose’s Oak Grove School District and president of the Oak Grove Educators Association. “Our school districts are counting on that money.”