It seems Republicans continue to hold up the new state budget in hopes of cutting about $400 million from education.
See this excerpt from the LA Times:Ã‚Â
Republican legislative leaders, vowing to block passage of a state budget until Democrats agree to more spending cuts, have proposed in secret talks to slash $400 million from schools, according to education groups that were briefed on the negotiations Tuesday.
School officials say they were shocked to learn of the proposal at a briefing on the state budget impasse Ã¢â‚¬â€ now in its third week Ã¢â‚¬â€ by Assembly Speaker Fabian NuÃƒÂ±ez (D-Los Angeles) and Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland).
The officials said they were told that, under the GOP plan, the money would be cut out of cost-of-living adjustments for salaries and other expenses and funding for the growth of student populations. The cuts would apply to schools with kindergarten through high school classes and to community colleges.
A Letter from State Rep. Chuck DeVore arrived in my mailbox; it was dated June 29 and was this diatribe about voting against attempts to weaken a “not unfair, nor it is too difficult..in fact may be too easy” exit exam for California public high school students.
Chuck reports that taxpayers are investing $11,288 per student for education.Ã‚Â I think he is throwing in all school construction and materials costs, benefits for employees and the kitchen sink to come up with this figure.Ã‚Â The ADA (average daily attendance) cost averages to something between $7K and $8K in California which represents money going to the classroom.
What he doesn’t say is that Orange County schools in his district are well below the state average in funding.Ã‚Â Irvine Unified is among the lowest funded districts in the state yet consistently maintains high test scores because parents here subsidize the school district through an array of annual fundraising.Ã‚Â This amounts to a hidden tax on parents with kids in IUSD due to a failure of our elected officials to change Irvine’s status from a “rural” to “subrban” or even “urban” district (we’re a rural community of about 200,000).Ã‚Â
And now the Republicans want to cut education funding.Ã‚Â Time to draw a line in the sand.Ã‚Â
Education spending is an investment in our future and in the skill set of our young people who will drive the California economy into the next decade.Ã‚Â And the No Child Left Behind mandate, well under-funded by the Bush Administration, really teaches kids how to pass a test and doesn’t emphasize the critical thinking skills that Chuck sometimes accuses us from the LiberalOC from having.Ã‚Â
California ranks 29th in state spending on education; our education system has challenges other districts see.Ã‚Â We have large numbers of Latino and Asian children with special needs.Ã‚Â We have underfunded federal mandates with NCLB and special education that must be made up at the state andÃ‚Â local level.
How about having our legislature start working with the federal government on the budget shortfall for education our taxpayers must make up.Ã‚Â After all, we’re spending about $350 million a week in Iraq.Ã‚Â