By Len Feldman
As the Educator went to press, CTA members and representatives were hard at work trying to secure the four votes needed to pass a state budget with the extensions of current taxes. Extending the taxes would bridge the remaining $10 billion deficit and stave off another $5 billion in cuts to education.
Recent events have exacerbated the school funding budget crisis.
During a frenetic week in mid-June, Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislators joined CTA members in trying to persuade four Republicans — two in the Senate and two in the Assembly — to help them pass the tax extensions on the required two-thirds vote. Without that support, the Democrats crafted a budget that used a variety of methods — including the reinstitution of a deferral of about $3 billion in education funding — to bridge the gap.
“Instead of using current revenues to balance the $12 billion in cuts already made this year to schools, colleges and other essential services, the Republicans’ inaction will result in our students returning to school in the fall with larger class sizes, fewer instruction days, fewer teachers, limited course offerings, higher tuition, and minimal support services,” says CTA President David A. Sanchez.
Upon receiving the state budget bills passed by the Democratic leaders in the Senate and Assembly, Gov. Brown vetoed that spending plan and urged legislators to send him a better version.
“A veto that leads to an all-cuts budget will only hurt our students, their families and our state,” says Sanchez. “This is not the California we want for our students. It’s definitely not the California they deserve. And it’s certainly disappointing that some California lawmakers don’t value the importance of public education and fail to understand that investing in public education is an investment in our economy and our future.”
CTA members are urged to join the fight by signing up to become “Summer Warriors,” legislative constituents willing and able to get in touch with their state lawmakers and urge them to approve the temporary tax extensions and protect schools, colleges and other essential public services from deeper cuts. Members can do that on the CTA website, www.cta.org.
CTA is asking members to focus on communicating with 13 Republican lawmakers — seven in the Senate and six in the Assembly.
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