Contact: Sandra Jackson, (916) 325-1550 or (916) 801-4776 (cell)
SACRAMENTO – At the final stop of the California Teachers Association’s six-week “Cuts Hurt” bus tour, which highlighted the devastating impact of the more than $4 billion in proposed budget cuts to public education in cities across the state, hundreds of teachers and education support professionals converged on the State Capitol today.
“The governor’s decision not to suspend Proposition 98, the minimum school funding law, was a move in the right direction. But his revised budget still includes $4.3 billion in cuts to public schools—including programs such as class size reduction, which means squeezing even more students into California’s overcrowded classrooms,” said David A. Sanchez, president of the 340,000-member California Teachers Association. “These cuts also impact programs that target low-income students and those schools that need help the most.”
The revised budget proposal offers no cost-of-living adjustment for any education program. That means less money to help recruit and retain quality teachers. And as districts pay more for gas to fuel school buses and more for other operating costs, our schools will once again be expected to do more with less.
More than 20,000 teachers, education support professionals and other educators have received pink slips, and some of these skilled educators will never return to the classroom.
“Elk Grove has prided itself on its class size reduction program. Our elementary students have flourished under this program and have increased their API scores. But class size is now threatened in Elk Grove, and our students are sure to suffer the consequences. Almost 35 teachers in our ninth-grade English and math programs have been given pink slips,” said Elk Grove Education Association Vice President Mike Stahl.
In the Sacramento Unified School District, Sacramento City Teachers Association Vice President Marcie Launey said, “Two hundred teachers in my district have received pink slips. All of the music programs have been cut and the district is looking at increasing class size in the primary grades.”
“Today is Education Support Professionals Day,” said Doreen McGuire-Grigg, president of the Lakeport Unified Classified Employees Association, where eight of the 37 classified school employees in her district have received layoff notices. “This should be a day of celebration for the rarely recognized men and women who work behind the scenes at our schools every day to ensure that students and teachers have a clean, safe environment in which to learn and work. Instead, we are here fighting for education funding to save our schools. This is shameful.”
With this revised budget plan, California continues to rank 46th in K-12 per-pupil funding and dead last in teachers, librarians and counselors per student. Many school districts have already decided to increase class sizes and cut vital student programs like art, music and career technical education just to meet the demands of the governor’s proposed budget.
“Continuing to solve this budget crisis with a cuts-only approach hurts crucial services that all Californians need and deserve. Lawmakers must consider revenue increases to fund education and other important programs that help children, the poor and working families,” Sanchez said. “Providing a quality education for our students is the most important thing we can do to invest in their future. California students didn’t create this budget crisis. Their education and their futures shouldn’t be sacrificed to solve it.”
CTA Vice President Dean E. Vogel and Secretary-Treasurer Daniel R. Vaughn joined Sanchez on board the CTA “Cuts Hurt” bus in Sacramento today. The tour began on April 7 and has stopped in Inglewood, Rialto, San Diego, Orange County, Bakersfield, Fresno, Chico, Redding, San Francisco, San Jose, and other cities in the Bay Area.
The Angry, Tired Teachers Band from Hayward entertained the Capitol crowd preceding the news conference, performing the tour’s theme song, “Cuts Hurt.” More information is available at www.cta.org.