By Len Feldman
Assembly Appropriations Committee Chair Kevin de Leon (center), along with Twin Rivers United School District Superintendent Frank Porter and Sacramento City Teachers Association President Linda Tuttle.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at the last moment vetoed a CTA-backed bill designed to protect $402 million in Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) school revenue limits funding, but he made a commitment to the entire education community to find a solution that would provide funding to all districts.
The governor vetoed Senate Bill 84 by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), which was designed to protect funding for QEIA and prevent funds from being redirected from schools' revenue limits — districts' basic per-student funding — until the state superintendent of public instruction could certify that other state or federal funds would be used to replace the transferred revenue limit funds.
While the veto killed that specific measure, discussions are continuing between the administration, legislative leaders, and the entire education community to find another resolution to the problem. In his veto message, the governor noted that his administration has identified funding to hold districts that receive QEIA funding harmless. He committed to working with the Legislature to implement a solution.
Through its statewide mobilization, CTA was able to persuade lawmakers to overwhelmingly approve SB 84, the CTA-supported measure designed to protect $402 million for public education and to safeguard district revenue limit funding. The QEIA funding was guaranteed as part of the July state budget agreement along with an additional year of funding.
Under a court settlement brought by CTA in 2006, the administration agreed to provide $402 million annually in non-Proposition 98 funding. CTA filed the lawsuit when the Schwarzenegger administration refused to repay moneys owed to public education as a result of the suspension of Proposition 98 in 2004-05.
CTA has been joined in its advocacy for a solution to the problem by its statewide Education Coalition partners, whose more than 1 million members include parents, school employees, school board members, and other public education supporters.
A veto of SB 84 would cost schools:
- $160 for each of 1.8 million students eligible for federal free or reduced price lunch program.
- $180 for each of 965,000 Decile 1 and Decile 2 students.
- $140 for each of 260,000 African-American students.
- $160 for each of 1.7 million Latino students.
- $170 for each of 785,000 students whose parents left school before graduating high school.
- $91 for each English Language Learner.
- Cuts would be nearly four times larger for minority students than for white students. Schools would lose $26 for each White student, $83 for each African-American student; and $90 for each Latino student, if the governor vetoes SB 84.
Source: Strategic Education Services