By Len Feldman
CTA and its statewide Education Coalition partners have been pressing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislators to honor the promises they made to public education during the protracted 2009-10 budget battle. At a recent news conference in Sacramento, CTA President David A. Sanchez and coalition leaders rebuked the governor for proposing more cuts to schools in his January spending proposal. That plan would renege on the July 2009 budget he signed into law, as well as the commitment to restore more than $11.2 billion to students and schools as required by Proposition 98, the voter-approved minimum school funding guarantee.
“The governor claims he’s protecting education, but he is in fact hurting students by cutting billions more from our schools and colleges and breaking education promises he and the Legislature made last year,” said Sanchez. “Our schools and our students are reeling from massive cuts — more than $17.2 billion — made in recent years, yet the governor is reneging on the agreement he signed to restore funds to public schools.”
Together, CTA and the coalition represent more than 1 million Californians engaged in helping all students achieve educational excellence. These include parents, school administrators, education support professionals, teachers and other school supporters.
During the news event, coalition leaders cited a recent report from UCLA — “Education Opportunities in Hard Times” — that found more than 74 percent of elementary principals report that class sizes are swelling. Coalition representatives also cited a poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California that found 82 percent of Californians oppose reductions in school funding as a method of closing the state budget deficit.
The coalition news conference is just one element of the ongoing campaign to protect public education and secure the restoration of the billions in appropriations already slashed.
On May 25, hundreds of CTA chapter presidents are slated to converge on the state Capitol as part of the Presidents’ Lobby Day. They will meet with their lawmakers to provide them with details of how budget cuts are impacting their students’ educations at local schools. CTA and coalition members are lobbying lawmakers on a daily basis to reject the governor’s newest round of budget cuts and to take steps to restore funding to schools. The battle over the budget is expected to heat up in mid-May, after the governor releases his updated budget proposal, the May Revision.
The Legislature, which has been holding hearings on the governor’s January proposal since it was released, will vet the budget revision. They are under constitutional pressure to send the governor a final spending plan by June 15. Under state law, the governor has until June 30 to sign a spending plan into law prior to the July 1 start of the new fiscal year.
How you can help
Contact your legislators using the toll-free hotline (888) 268-4334 and tell them no more cuts.