Contact: Mike Myslinski (408) 921-5769 or Robin Swanson (916) 443-1486
Bay Area Education Coalition Details Recent Impact of Local Cuts to Schools; Supports Assembly 'Jobs Budget Plan' to Restore Billions to California Education and Protect Poor Children From Harmful Cuts
SAN FRANCISCO – The Bay Area Education Coalition hosted a press conference at Everett Middle School today to bring attention to the devastating local impact of $17 billion in statewide cuts to schools over the past two years, and to endorse the Assembly budget proposal, a plan that protects students from further cuts.
The Education Coalition is encouraged that the Assembly and Senate have made progress during budget negotiations, agreeing upon fundamental principles to protect schools and students, as well as to protect all children from harmful cuts.
The Governor’s budget proposal, however, hurts California’s students, and would further reduce revenue limit funding, the general purpose support for schools, by $1.5 billion. This represents a cut of about $250 per student. The Governor also proposes cuts of $1.4 billion to child development programs, $28 million to county offices of education, $550 million from the K-3 Class Size Reduction program, and $206 million from virtually all K-12 programs to impose a negative cost-of-living adjustment.
In contrast, the Assembly budget proposal honors the commitment made less than a year ago by the Governor and the Legislature to California’s students, does not suspend or manipulate the Proposition 98 constitutional funding guarantee for public education, and does not impose more cuts on schools that have already been devastated by drastic reductions over the past two years.
“California’s public schools have been subjected to 60 percent of the cuts, even though education funding makes up only 40 percent of the state budget,” said Carlos García, Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District. “I support the Speaker’s budget plan because it finally creates solutions to the budget shortfall instead of making our students bear the brunt of the cuts.”
“In the San Francisco Unified School District, schools and students have already suffered from many deep cuts, including class size increases in kindergarten and first grade, the elimination of summer
school, and substantial layoffs of counselors, music teachers, nurses, social science teachers, and teachers aides,” said Linda Plack, vice president of the United Educators of San Francisco. “The district has also been forced to make deep cuts to school budgets, eliminating almost all funding for supplies. The school year has also been shortened by four days over each of the next two school years. Every statewide cut that is made hurts our students.”
“The Governor and legislators need to take a balanced approach that includes raising the revenues necessary to invest in California’s students now,” said Debbie Look, director of legislation, California State PTA. “With nearly 1 million PTA members throughout the state, we know just how hard parents and many others are working to help schools survive during these tough times. But we cannot make up for the non-stop budget cuts that our children have endured.”
“Many of our students in Oakland have been devastated by the cuts to education over the past few years,” said Betty Olson-Jones, president of the Oakland Education Association. “Class sizes will go up, and teacher turnover remains high due to increasingly difficult working conditions. Our smaller schools are being forced to close. State lawmakers must keep their promise to our students to provide schools with adequate funds to deliver the quality public education that is our students’ civil right.”
“We support the Assembly budget plan because it reflects the priorities of the majority of Californians who believe that investing in our students is an invaluable investment in our communities and in California’s future,” said Patricia Sanders, president of the Alameda Education Association. “Alameda students are already facing a perfect storm of deep cuts and likely school closures, along with increased class sizes and a shorter school year. The education cuts are the most severe we have ever seen in Alameda.”
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 website at www.protectourstudents.org.
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