Contact: Mike Myslinski at 650-552-5324 or Robin Swanson at 916-443-1486
SAN FRANCISCO – As the state’s budget woes compound by the day, California’s schools face more devastating cuts that could shortchange classrooms by an astronomical $8 billion statewide if legislators refuse to raise the revenues needed to provide our students with a quality education. While funding for public schools continues to dwindle, a local coalition of parents, teachers, administrators, school board members, school employees and others today unveiled a “holiday wish list” at Lowell High School about providing students with the basic resources they need to learn.
“Schools need ongoing, stable revenues now more than ever,” said San Francisco Unified Superintendent Carlos Garcia. “Before this year’s devastating budget cuts, California already ranked 46th out of 50 states in per-pupil funding. Further cuts will have catastrophic consequences for California’s schools, students and their futures.”
The statewide cuts are the equivalent of $57.8 million for San Francisco Unified alone – and more than $1 billion for all Bay Area public schools for 2008-09. Teachers, custodians, food service workers and others who help our students achieve could face layoffs. In fact, statewide, without additional revenues, K-12 schools would be cut by $7.2 billion. These cuts are equivalent to shutting down every school across the state for 25 days, or increasing class sizes statewide by over 50 percent, or reducing per-student spending by almost $1,200. It would be equal to laying off 160,000 classroom teachers, or 180,000 bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, maintenance workers, and other education support professionals.
That’s why local parents, teachers and students were forced to put crucial items on the holiday wish list, including: increasing state revenues, protecting music and other enrichment programs, keeping class sizes small so students can get more individual attention, and providing basic classroom supplies.
“Our elected leaders need to be reminded of what hard-working Californians already know -- these devastating cuts to public education are undermining our state's future,” said parent Carl Barnes, a member of the State PTA Board of Managers.
“California business leaders agree that the best way to improve our economy is to make sure we have a well-educated work force,” said teacher Dennis Kelly, president of United Educators of San Francisco. “The governor and lawmakers must make California’s students a top priority. It’s time to invest in our future.”
“School districts are increasingly forced to do more with less – but there’s simply nowhere left to cut,” said Jill Wynns, a San Francisco Unified school board commissioner. “Without revenues, we will shortchange an entire generation of students by robbing them of the quality education they deserve.”