By Len Feldman
CTA and its statewide Education Coalition partners are continuing the fight to block more than $2.5 billion in additional education cuts proposed in January by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Work on a state budget will accelerate after the middle of May, when state law requires the governor to publish a revised budget proposal that reflects updated estimates of state revenues and expenditures.
State Controller John Chiang has reported in recent months that state revenues have been running higher than the governor’s January projections, and those additional revenues may help bolster support for the coalition’s arguments against additional education cuts beyond the $17 billion already slashed from schools.
“We’ve told lawmakers enough is enough, that our students and our schools can’t take any more reductions,” says CTA President David A. Sanchez. CTA and other coalition members have brought the case to the public through news conferences and radio advertising.
A key element of the battle is to block the governor’s effort to renege on an agreement approved by legislators and signed by him earlier this year that locks in the calculation of the Proposition 98 minimum funding for schools for the 2009-10 budget year. The governor’s spending plan seeks to manipulate that calculation and reduce school funding. CTA is asking lawmakers to honor the agreement, which is now law.
As part of the battle to protect schools, CTA and its coalition partners are asking legislators to sign pledge cards committing them to vote against any further cuts in schools. CTA has also been sending legislators updates on the number of teachers and other certificated school employees who have received layoff notices. The most recent report alerted lawmakers that more than 25,000 teachers and other educators have been notified they may not have jobs next year.
These layoffs come on top of thousands of layoffs of education support professionals who are not covered by the March 15 preliminary notice provisions of the Education Code.
When the governor’s May Revision is released, it will signal the start of a sprint to complete a state spending plan prior to the June 15 deadline, so that the Legislature has time to send a fiscal road map to the governor. Under state law, the governor has until June 30 to sign a final budget that takes effect on July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.
To help win the fight, CTA has designated May 25 as Presidents’ Lobby Day, when hundreds of CTA chapter leaders from around the state will converge on the state Capitol to press lawmakers to protect public education as they finalize a budget. CTA is also encouraging local chapters to use important dates in May, like Day of the Teacher and ESP Day, to plan events and bring attention to how state budget cuts are hurting our neighborhood schools.
CALL YOUR LAWMAKERS
Call your legislators and tell them to uphold the promise to California’s students and
- Protect public education funding from further cuts.
- Stand by the budget agreement signed into law (AB 4X 3) to restore $11.2 billion in funding owed to schools and community colleges.
- Oppose any attempts to suspend or undermine Prop 98, the voter-approved minimum school funding guarantee.