Contact: Sandra Jackson at 916-801-4776, or Dina Martin 415-710-6794
LOS ANGELES – Teacher delegates representing the top governing body of the 340,000-member California Teachers Association meeting in Los Angeles this weekend voted to move ahead with plans to circulate an initiative that would implement a one-cent sales tax to provide new, ongoing funding for public schools and colleges that cannot be cut, delayed or diverted by the governor or the Legislature.
State Council also unanimously re-elected David A. Sanchez as CTA president and Dean E. Vogel as vice president of the organization. Sanchez, a Santa Maria elementary school teacher in Santa Barbara County, and Vogel, a counselor in Vacaville, Solano County, will now serve a second and final two-year term of office. An election for CTA secretary-treasurer will take place at the March Council meeting.
“The Public School Investment and Accountability Act would ensure that taxpayer money is directed toward student learning and is focused in the classroom,” said Sanchez. “California has now slipped to 47th in the country in per-pupil funding, and we will fall further behind under the governor’s latest state budget proposal to cut $10.8 billion from public education. The future of an entire generation of students is at stake and we can’t fail them. If the governor and Legislature won’t take action, we must,” added Sanchez.
The new $5 billion to $6 billion generated annually from this Act could be spent to reduce class size in all grades; provide adequate and up-to-date textbooks and materials; provide quality teacher training; hire additional counselors, librarians and critical education support staff; restore arts and career technical programs; and recruit and retain highly qualified teachers. None of the money could be spent on administrative costs and misuse of funds is punishable by law.
The vote by the State Council of Education – CTA’s top governing body of nearly 800 democratically elected teacher delegates from across the state – means that signature gathering to place the initiative before voters can begin should a special election be called in November 2009. CTA filed the initiative in December in order to qualify for the ballot.
Visit www.cta.org for additional information and to read the full text of the initiative.