Contact: Robin Swanson (916) 204-6890
As California’s public schools continue to grapple with the fallout of $11.6 billion in statewide education funding cuts, educators are looking to Prop 1B on the May 19th ballot to restore $9 billion of the funding cuts to our students that are owed to schools under the state’s minimum school funding law.
Prop 1B sets out a schedule for repaying our schools, and corrects a manipulation of Prop 98 that shortchanges our students of billions that they are owed. Voters have affirmed their support for the minimum school funding guarantee under Prop 98 time and again, and continue to say that providing adequate funding for our schools is their top priority.
With more than 30,000 teachers and administrators already receiving pink slips, and 10,000 school employees laid off, many school districts will be forced to lay off even more educators if the funds to public schools are not restored with the passage of Prop. 1B.
Though the federal stimulus funds released this week under the Education Recovery Act will begin to mitigate a portion of the layoff notices over the short-term, Prop 1B will help schools recover from some of the devastating cuts, ensuring that quality educators and support staff can stay in the classroom, and that programs critical to student learning will not be eliminated from our schools.
With California ranking nearly last in the nation in per-pupil funding, the Education Coalition has always remained committed to finding long-term solutions to the chronic underfunding of our public schools and addressing the needs of all students, and will continue to do so. California’s students are already subjected to the largest class sizes and have access to the fewest librarians, counselors and support staff of any state in the country.
Without restoration of the funds, local schools are being forced to make unprecedented cuts that will shortchange an entire generation of students. Excerpts from the articles below illustrate the grave problems and impossible choices currently facing our schools:
In times like these, the Redondo Beach Unified School District is not alone in its budget crunch. In fact, all California schools have been dealt the same grim hand from Sacramento.
“We’re all hit hard and that’s the thing that’s very disconcerting, that it’s the entire state’s education system that’s at risk — and it’s a significant risk,” said RBUSD’s Chief Business Official Janet Redella.
As a result, the School District, which has an approximately $68 million annual budget, has had to take a serious look at its operations.
Conejo Valley Unified School District school board members made their first concrete decision regarding imminent cuts to their budget. CVUSD needs to cut a little more than $5 million from its 2009-10 budget, beginning with the elimination of five district management positions, which will save the district $460,000. $2 million will come from hard cuts to be determined at the board's next meeting on May 5. Class sizes in kindergarten through third grade will likely be increased, as will math and English classes for eighth through 10th-graders.
More than $1.2 million will be cut from elementary education in the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, with most of the savings coming from changes in the state's Class Size Reduction program. The current program requires one teacher for every 20.4 students. Next year, class size will increase to 22.4 students per teacher for kindergarten, first grade and second grade, and to one teacher for every 24.9 third graders.
This change will eliminate 21 teaching positions. Middle schools and high schools will lose about $473,000, including two high school librarian positions. Restructuring of special education will save more than $1.25 million, though services will increase.
More than $1 million will be cut from transportation services with possibly 13 positions eliminated.
Nearly $364,000 will be cut from athletics by eliminating transportation to games and offering middle-school athletics through after-school programs.
Music education will lose some positions, though more money will be infused into the programs. The district has eight full-time- equivalent music teachers this school year. The changes could eliminate up to two positions.
The positions slated for layoffs range from a custodian to a nurse assistant, three bus drivers, a health aid and various instructional aides throughout the district, Gibson said.
Modesto City Schools trustees Monday night approved a tentative agreement with the Modesto Teachers Association that provides for a slate of reductions in pay, workdays and stipends for the 2009-10 school year. It also increases maximum possible class sizes and the ratio of students per counselor. Officials are staring down $12 million in budget cuts for the next school year. Changes include a 1 percent pay cut for most certificated employees; setting class sizes at a maximum of 38 students in core academic classes, 60 for physical education and 40 in all other classes; and reductions to student activity directors' hours.
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 the Educatoin Coalition website at: www.protectourstudents.org.