No doubt by now you've heard the governor say that his new budget protects education.
The governor proposes to cut K-12 education funding by another $400 per pupil, for a total of $2.5 billion, so his claim that the budget protects education is either a lie or he doesn't know the facts around his own proposal.
The cold hard facts are that the proposed budget would reduce the revenue limit funding, the general propose support for schools, by $1.5 billion (see page 60 of the Governor's Budget Summary.)When you factor in the cuts to child development programs, cuts to county offices of education, cuts from the K-3 Class Size Reduction program, and others, it adds up to serious cuts.
How does the governor claim to "protect education funding," despite more than $2.5 billion in proposed cuts?
You'll love this sleight of hand approach. First, he proposes to
eliminate the sales tax on gasoline and increase the excise tax on
gasoline. Now why would he swap one tax for another? Because excise
taxes don't count as State General Fund revenues, whereas sales taxes
do.By swapping the tax stipulation, he is able to lower the general
fund by $1.6 billion.Why would he want to lower the amount of the
general fund?Because education funding is built on a percentage of the
general fund. The lower the general fund, the lower the number of
dollars that have to go to support education. This one change alone
lowers the amount of state support for K-12 education by about $800
Next, the governor proposes to revise legislation signed into law
just last July in order to retroactively lower the funding for this
current school year. Many of those in the Education Coalition believe
that the state can't redefine its certification of a prior year
constitutional funding level. If that is allowable, what meaning is a
constitutional guarantee approved by you, the voters?
The fact is, the vast majority of the current state budget problems
result from past budget "solutions" that the state has not been able to
implement. However, the cuts to schools have been implemented.Every
dollar in cuts to schools approved by the Legislature and the governor
have been made.Why is it fair to now come back to solve the current
problem by making more cuts to schools?
The governor wants to cut 10 percent for administration.Most school
districts have already severely reduced administration over the last
several years.Now the federal government is implementing many new
rules and regulations for its "Race to the Top" programs that will
require an enormous amount of time to administer, an addition to the
already burdened administrators. This could require additional
administrators, not fewer.
California is in danger of failing an entire generation of children.
For the governor to seriously claim that education is a priority is
just not true.
The sad fact is that your School Board will be faced with making
painfully hard choices in the next several months based on the
governor's proposed budget.It's no different than if you had your
income cut 10 percent each year for a number of years. Finally it gets
to a point where the family itself is in real jeopardy.Today your
school district is in real jeopardy. Unless the legislature has the
courage to say no to this governor's proposed cuts to our kids'
education, we may end up being a Third World country in just a few
In the past, your school district has been saved from some even more
devastating cuts only because you took action to help keep programs
that you cared about.Your letters, phone calls and e-mails turned the
tide and helped the legislature and governor see that they were robbing
our kids of their education.
Today your help is needed again if we are to be successful.You can e-mail Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro at Assembly
member.Chesbro@assembly.ca.gov. State Sen. Sam Aanestad can be
reached by contacting his chief of staff.E-mail him at
email@example.com.The governor can be reached by e-mail through:
Bob Berkowitz vice president of the Del Norte County Unified
School District Board of Trustees and a member of the Board of
Directors of the California School Boards Association.