By Len Feldman
In a demonstration of unity, members of the Vallejo Education Association marched at the March 5 school board meeting where 190 pink slips were issued.
By mobilizing its members throughout the state, CTA was able to build momentum that pushed back Republican proposals to close the looming budget gap by cuts and cuts alone. Instead, the final spending combines new revenues, cuts, fund transfers and borrowing to balance the 2008-09 and 2009-10 budgets.
Fully three-fifths of the $42 billion budget solution came in the form of new revenues and borrowing, but two-fifths — $15.8 billion — took the form of budget cuts. About 50 percent of those 2008-09 and 2009-10 cuts are from the public education budget. This is the largest cut in the state budget.
Another element that helped stop a cuts-only “solution” is the proposal to borrow against future lottery revenues. The proposal assures schools an annual amount equivalent to past years’ lottery revenues and adds that amount to the state’s general fund. This will result in an increase to Proposition 98 funds beginning in 2010-11, and will cause education lottery funds to now be subject to cost-of-living adjustments.