Contact: Robin Swanson at 916-204-6890
The Education Coalition is calling on the Governor and lawmakers to immediately stop plans to unlawfully undermine Prop. 98, the state’s minimum school funding law, permanently cutting at least $7 billion from California’s students, in violation of the California Constitution.
As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle (1/14/09, Matthew Yi, Nanette Asimov):
“In the past, when large budget deficits resulted in cuts in school spending, the law allowed the state to fund schools and community colleges less than what they were entitled to but required the state to repay the difference when the economy improved later.
With the governor planning to cut billions of dollars in education spending over the next 18 months, the money owed to schools in future years when the state’s finances improve would be about $7 billion, said Rachel Ehlers, a Prop. 98 expert for the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.
But Schwarzenegger’s finance officials say this year’s precipitous drop in revenues is forcing California to utilize a different formula for funding education that doesn’t require the state to give additional funding to schools in the future.”
The Education Coalition believes this attack on Prop. 98 is an irresponsible assault on California’s students, with devastating, irreparable consequences. These permanent cuts come as the Governor is already proposing an additional $10.8 billion in cuts to schools over the next 18 months.
The Governor’s unlawful interpretation of Prop. 98 would eliminate the “maintenance factor” credit to schools in the 2008-09 budget, thereby permanently reducing the minimum funding base for schools and shortchanging education by an estimated $7 billion year after year. That is an ongoing cut of more than $30,000 to every California classroom.
Voters have repeatedly affirmed their strong support for the state’s minimum school funding law, rejecting all attempts to undermine Prop. 98 time and again, including the overwhelming defeat of the Governor’s initiative in 2005. It’s time for our state’s leaders to be honest with voters about cuts being made to education. We call on all lawmakers to reject this unlawful manipulation of Prop. 98 that further reduces school funding, and to increase the revenues necessary to provide all of California’s students with the quality education they deserve.
The latest survey released by the non-partisan Education Week showed that California’s schools ranked 47th in the nation in per-pupil spending, quickly approaching dead last as mid-year cuts are factored in.
The Education Coalition represents more than 2.5 million teachers, parents, administrators, school board members, school employees and other education advocates in California. For more information, please visit our web site at www.protectourstudents.org.