Contact: Robin Swanson (916) 443-1486
With the new school year already underway and students facing unprecedented larger class sizes due to $17 billion in cuts to public schools over the past two years, California’s lawmakers need to take urgent action to ensure that federal funding passed by Congress is distributed to schools immediately and not used to fix the state’s budget crisis.
Under a law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama last week, the “Keep Our Educators Working Act,” California is due to receive $1.2 billion in federal funding for education to help put teachers and teaching assistants back in classrooms, and to help put others working in California schools back on the job, including custodians and school bus drivers.
Our state lawmakers must take immediate legislative action to ensure that these badly needed federal funds go straight to California’s 6.3 million students, many of whom are already packed into overcrowded classrooms and have seen vital programs slashed, school libraries closed and adult supervision on school campuses dwindle, as a result of layoffs of 30,000 educators in public schools – 16,000 last year and 14,000 this year.
While this one-time federal funding is vital to California’s students, it is only part of the solution – our lawmakers must also pass a budget that honors the agreement made with California’s students; rejects further cuts to schools and students; restores funds owed to districts; and protects Prop. 98, the voter-approved minimum school funding guarantee.
California’s public schools have taken more than their fair share of cuts. Public education has been subjected to 60 percent of the cuts, even though it makes up only 40 percent of the state budget. To reverse this downward spiral in education funding, the Governor and legislators need to raise the revenues necessary to invest in California’s students now.
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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