Photo by Scott Buschman.
More than 9 million students in California will be affected by what happens in voting booths across the state on May 19. Californians have a chance to make a real difference and help stop deeper cuts to schools and colleges, which have been cut by more than $11 billion in funding over the past two years due to the ongoing budget crisis.
Our schools are currently ranked 47th in per-pupil spending, and we have some of the largest classes in the country. In March, more than 27,000 teachers and education support professionals received layoff notices. Art, music, PE and career technical education programs are being eliminated and class sizes are getting larger.
Unfortunately, things will get much worse if voters fail to pass Propositions 1A-1F in the May 19 special election. Passing these propositions will establish long-term budget reforms to stabilize state spending and will begin repaying schools and colleges the $9.3 billion owed to them under Prop. 98.
"Failing to pass these measures will cost California $23 billion over the next four years," says CTA President David A. Sanchez, "and will result in even deeper cuts to education, children's health care, public safety and programs for seniors and the disabled."
Our schools have seen the loss of counselors and career centers in schools like Cordova High in Rancho Cordova — places that are meant to provide our students with a solid launchpad into future professions. We've seen access to library books denied, like at Evergreen Valley High in San Jose, where libraries are shuttered due to personnel layoffs. In Redlands, full-time education support professionals have been replaced by temporary and substitute positions.
If we don't stop this bleeding out of billions of budget dollars every year in California, the erosion of public education will continue — and in the end our entire community will suffer. California business leaders agree that the state's economic recovery and stability depend upon a well-educated workforce. We must educate our children to be productive members of the state's economy. Californians have long recognized that high-quality education leads to more prosperous and healthy communities for us all. The future of our state depends on the investment we make in our public schools. Our economic recovery and stability hang in the balance.
For this budget to work, all six of these initiatives must pass in unison. If we can pass these propositions, vital student programs may escape being eliminated, giving our students a fighting chance at a good public education.
"This is why it is crucial to vote yes on Propositions 1A through 1F," says Sanchez, "and to encourage our members, friends and family members to vote yes, too. With only six weeks to go, this election will be about who gets out to vote. If you care about public education and kids, vote yes on Props. 1A through 1F."
For more information about these initiatives, visit www.standupforschools.org.
Reform and Stabilize the State Budget. Puts the brakes on the state budget roller coaster, protects against deeper cuts.
Stabilizes future state spending.
Creates a long-term reserve fund to prevent further cuts to schools, health care and public safety.
Works with 1B to repay $9.3 billion owed to public schools and community colleges.
If Prop. 1A fails, there will be no mechanism for repaying the funding to public education.
Protect Public Education Funding. Prop. 1B sets up a repayment plan to restore some funding cuts from education starting in 2011.
Ensures schools are repaid the $9.3 billion they are owed under the minimum school funding law.
Payments would come out of the reserve fund established in Prop. 1A.
If 1B and 1A fail, $16 billion will be cut from education, health care and public safety.
Impact of budget cuts
Over 27,000 pink slips were mailed to teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses. 5,000 teachers were laid off last year.
10,000 cafeteria workers, school safety personnel, ESPs, custodians, bus drivers lost jobs last year and more are facing layoffs this year.
Art, music, career technical education and PE programs have been eliminated.