Education Coalition Strongly Urges Governor and Legislative Leaders to Close $20 Billion Projected Shortfall Before End of Session
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Education Advocates Say that if State Leaders Don’t Find Additional Revenue Streams for Schools THIS WEEK, it would be a “Missed Opportunity”
SACRAMENTO— With the end of the legislative session only days away, today the Education Coalition renewed urgent calls for legislative leaders to prioritize education funding and identify additional revenue to close a projected $20 billion* education state budget shortfall during the global pandemic and beyond. The coalition is comprised of the nine statewide K-12 education associations that work closely to advocate for the 8.4 million students in California’s public schools.
“We don’t want our state’s leaders to miss this critical opportunity to give students the resources they need to succeed during this pandemic and beyond,” said E Toby Boyd, President of the California Teachers Association (CTA). “Our most vulnerable students and communities pay the highest price when schools don’t have a stable, reliable funding stream from year-to-year.”
*2021-22 Education Budget Shortfall
Foregone COLA (20-21)
Projected Prop 98 Reduction
“The time is now for lawmakers to put people before politics and boldly adopt increased taxes on California’s wealthiest billionaires whose portfolios increased exponentially in value while our communities struggle to keep the lights on and put food on their families’ tables,” Boyd added.
“We can’t continue to kick the can down the road when it comes to funding our schools and students,” said Celia Jaffe, California State PTA President. “We need to address the growing student equity gap that is continuing to worsen during this global pandemic and we call on our state leaders to take this opportunity to create a long-term, stable funding source for schools.”
“We are grateful that the legislature and governor spared public education from cuts for this coming year, but we must now address the looming fiscal cliff schools will face if federal relief falters and when deferred payments come due,” said Ben Valdepeña, President of the California School Employees Association (CSEA).
“School districts are going to need to plan for a very uncertain future, and we can’t prepare for the needs of our students while being constrained by a looming $20 billion deficit,” said Tatia Davenport, CEO and Executive Director of the California Association of School Business Officials.
“California’s students, teachers, staff, and communities are counting on state leaders to work quickly to prioritize the funding our schools need to re-open safely,” said Jeff Freitas, President of the California Federation of Teachers. “Since March, while one out of five Californian’s have applied for unemployment, 11 California millionaires have become billionaires and the net worth of the wealthiest 25 Californians has increased by $160 billion – more than double the entire Prop. 98 expenditure last year. It is time legislators ask the ultra wealthy to invest in our state, our communities, and our schools.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly amplified inequities in our society and in our education system. Black and brown students, English learners and students with special needs will pay the price if California’s leaders don’t show courage now and raise revenue,” said Max Arias, Executive Director of Local 99 and Executive Board member of SEIU California. “Five months into this pandemic, one in five students still hasn’t had an opportunity to plug into distance learning, and many more are going without the support they need to succeed until schools reopen safely. We are calling for the legislature to tax the wealthy this session to prevent this crisis from becoming a long-term educational catastrophe.”
The Education Coalition continues to make safety a priority as schools develop plans for the fall and beyond.
Some back-to-school preparations include:
- Securing, preparing and delivering tens of thousands of laptops or tablets, and internet hot-spots to students and teachers.
- Deep cleaning every school classroom, desk, bathroom and shared space.
- Providing hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray in every classroom to eventually re-open.
- Providing hundreds of thousands of disposable masks, gloves and other PPE for students, teachers, bus drivers and in-school staff.
- Ensuring appropriate staffing levels and training to meet the individual needs of each student, especially students with disabilities.