State Council members wait to vote at the February meeting in Los Angeles.
CTA President David A. Sanchez mixed optimism with realism when he spoke to hundreds of representatives at the February State Council meeting. He congratulated CTA members on how their hard work in the November election has paid off with leaders who will make education a priority. Sanchez also reminded educators that the work is not done, since the governor’s budget plan needs to be approved with key tax extensions.
“The governor’s plan to extend temporary taxes for five years is a necessary and viable option to prevent further cuts to schools, public safety, health and other vital state programs,” Sanchez said. “California voters must be allowed to decide whether they want to make our schools a priority and start rebuilding a world-class public education system, or whether they want a world-class state budget catastrophe.”
Council approves budget plan
Council endorsed the governor’s budget proposal aimed at resolving the state’s $25 billion deficit.
This endorsement includes the governor’s call for a June election to extend certain temporary taxes. Council members were alarmed that without an extension of current revenues, public schools and colleges would lose at least another $2.3 billion on top of the more than $18 billion in devastating cuts they have suffered over the past three years. (After State Council met, the Legislative Analyst’s Office released a new report changing this figure from $2.3 billion to $4.6 billion.)
Council also approved principles for the 2011-12 state budget, including opposition to any additional cuts to schools and colleges; support for a balanced approach of cuts and revenues to resolve the budget crisis; support for the governor’s plan to eliminate redevelopment agencies, generating about $1 billion in new funding for schools; and opposition to fee hikes that are making higher education unaffordable for college students.
Dean E. Vogel becomes president-elect
Council unanimously elected CTA Vice President Dean E. Vogel as president of the 325,000-member union. Vogel was unopposed. His education career spans 37 years and includes working as an elementary public school teacher and a master counselor for university students. David A. Sanchez will remain president until June 26, when Vogel’s term begins.
“President Sanchez and I are more hopeful for the future of public education now that we have a governor who understands that state budgets should not be balanced with more devastating classroom cuts,” Vogel said.
The new CTA secretary-treasurer and vice president will be elected at the April State Council meeting.
CTA launches tax fairness resource
Without permanent, long-term solutions to funding, our public schools and the entire state will continue to suffer from more state budget deficits. A presentation was made at the Council meeting about a new CTA online resource dealing with tax fairness that can be found at cta.org/taxfairness.
The site offers school funding facts, data about tax loopholes, and information on how teachers can spread the word about tax reform that will help students and schools.
The new site includes a revealing PowerPoint presentation about tax fairness and the state budget process. It notes that California ranks 43rd in per-pupil spending. In the last seven years, California’s K-14 education spending has only increased 5.7 percent, compared to 39.5 percent for prisons. In California, residents with incomes in the lowest 20 percent pay 11.1 percent of their income in taxes. The wealthiest 1 percent pay only 7.8 percent of their income in taxes.
The site will be regularly updated with the latest research.