By Dina Martin
CTA Executive Director Carolyn Doggett told Council in her address that California expects to get at least $10 billion over the next two years for education from President Obama's economic stimulus package.
Massive state budget cuts and their repercussions dominated discussion at CTA's State Council of Education meeting in March. President David A. Sanchez urged Council to "organize, communicate and mobilize" on behalf of California's students.
Sanchez thanked Council for wearing pink Saturday morning in support of the more than 27,000 California teachers and education support professionals who had received layoff notices. He also remarked on the huge success of the Pink Friday activities that had taken place around the state on March 13.
"All of us know when an educator loses his or her job, the students are the ones who suffer most," said Sanchez. "These pink slips not only diminish our children's education, but our society and our future."
Sanchez also introduced a video of Pink Friday events compiled by CTA that is now available at www.pinkfriday09.org. "CTA members have not only taken to the streets in protests," said Sanchez. "They were also responsible for protecting Proposition 98 in the state budget."
Despite the more than $11 billion in cuts made to schools and colleges in the budget, Sanchez said that the budget news was not as bad as it could have been. "CTA won a huge concession from lawmakers when they approved putting an initiative on the ballot to repay the $9.3 billion owed to schools and colleges."
Recognizing that all the ballot propositions are inextricably tied together and important to begin repaying billions of dollars in cuts to public schools — as well as helping to protect students, education, health care and public safety programs from even deeper budget cuts — Council voted to support all six initiatives on the May 19 state ballot (see details).
"Many of these initiatives, especially Propositions 1A and 1B, are dependent on each other," said CTA president David A. Sanchez. "If they fail, the state is back to square one in trying to balance the budget, and our schools could face even deeper cuts."
He underscored the fact that the budget cannot be enacted until voters approve the initiatives on the May 19 ballot.
CTA Executive Director Carolyn Doggett told Council in her address that California expects to get at least $10 billion over the next two years for education in the form of President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"A big chunk of this money goes for what is called state stabilization, designed to save jobs, to restore cuts and to be sent out to local school districts immediately," said Doggett. "I want to remind all of you that it was CTA and your president who joined with a couple of other states and convinced NEA to push for direct education funding in the federal stimulus package. CTA is working with the governor's office to ensure that schools get their rightful share of the stimulus dollars."
Sanchez noted that CTA also protected the state's Class Size Reduction program, defeating several attempts to gut the program and give local school districts full flexibility to spend CSR money for any purpose. He called on State Council to help continue the Pink Friday movement. "It must be a beginning for us," he said. "During the Great Depression, union activity flourished and helped bring our country out of difficult times. We can do that again — by advocating for the best stimulus for any ailing economy: educating our children."
Mendes voted CTA secretary-treasurer
CTA's State Council of Education elected San Pablo elementary teacher Gail Mendes as secretary-treasurer. Mendes, who is past president of United Teachers of Richmond, teaches fourth grade at Bayview Elementary School. A veteran educator for more than 30 years, Mendes has also taught preschool, special education and adult education. She has served on State Council and the CTA Budget Committee. Mendes will assume office on June 26.
In other action State Council:
- Elected Gilda Bloom as NEA Director (District 17, Higher Ed)
- Re-elected CTA Board members Don Dawson (District B), Cynthia Peña (District G), and Bonnie Shatun (District I); Marc Sternberger, NEA Coordinating Director; and Peg Myers, NEA Alternate Director.
- Re-elected CTA ABC Committee Members Patrick Riggs (District A), Michael Harrelson (District N), and E. Toby Boyd, Member-at-Large; and elected Greg Bonaccorsi (District B), Mike Patterson (District D), Robert Lynch (District E), and Rick McClure (District K).
- Honored California Teachers of the Year Alastair Inman, a science teacher at Lexington Junior High School in Anaheim; Jose L. Navarro IV, a history teacher at Sylmar Senior High School; and Loredana Wicketts, a third-grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary in Corona.
- Honored the 2008 CTA Education Support Professional of the Year, Michael Musser, member of the Ventura Classified Employees Association, who serves as NEA ESP At-Large Director.
- Heard Robert Ross, president of The California Endowment, announce a 10-year initiative to raise funds to provide health care to the most distressed and underserved children in California.
- Took positions on almost 200 legislative bills. The State Council Report can be found on MyCTA, the membersonly section of the CTA website.