Supporting Public Schools

Parents of public school children are being asked to contact their state legislators in Sacramento on cuts to public school funding.  Here’s some helpful data to get you through your call.  But fair warning.  If your state rep or state senator is a Republican, you might as well be talking to a stone wall.  They are going to tow the Party Line and their position is that the state spends too much on education despite overwhelming voter support for schools in the 2005 special election.  Just remember the lack of sympathy from these people when you go to the ballot box in November.  

  • The actual cut to the K-12 Education budget will be on the order of 2% rather than the 10% across the board cut in the Governor’s 2008/09 Budget Proposal. The percentages can be confusing.  However, whether you hear 10% or 2% or a number in between, the fact is that under the governor’s current budget proposal the following cuts are being planned by school districts for 2008/09. 
    ü       $12.5 million in cuts for Irvine Unified School District
    ü       $27 million in cuts for Capistrano Unified School District
    ü       $19 million in cuts for Saddleback Valley Unified School District
    ü       $200 million in cuts for school districts in Orange County
    ·         $4.4 billion in cuts for K-12 Education in California

If the staffer or legislator asks you how to solve the problem, remind them that its their job to figure this out.  If the legislature and the Governor don’t protect Prop 98, six million children in California will be in larger classrooms, facing less enrichment programs and have an educational experience that is not up to the standards of California.  The impact might not be felt today, but in 10 or 15 years when California businesses need a qualified and well-educated workforce to help run the world’s sixth largest economy.  Pennywise or pound foolish?

What Parents need to know about Prop 98 

  • Proposition 98 is a constitutional amendment passed by California voters in 1988 which guarantees minimum funding levels for K-12 schools and community colleges.  It is based on the principle that education should receive at least the same amount as it did the previous year, adjusted for changes in school attendance and per capita personal income.  Support for Prop 98 was reaffirmed in the 2005 special election.  This is what voters want.
  • Proposition 98 minimum funding can be suspended for one year with a 2/3 vote of the legislature. 
  • The Prop 98 guarantee for 2007/08 was “overfunded” in the budget by $1.4 billion due to lower than expected state revenues.  Since the guarantee is the base upon which increases are made for next year, the governor revised, or decreased, this year’s guarantee down to $56.7 billion. 
  • With cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) and Average Daily Attendance (ADA) adjustments, the Prop 98 guarantee should be $59.7 billion for 2008/09. 
  • The governor proposes reducing the Prop 98 guarantee to $55.6 billion in 2008/09.  This will require a suspension of Prop 98. 

Why is Irvine Unified School District making cuts to next year’s budget now and laying off teachers and staff when the state budget has yet to be approved?

  • School Districts must prepare budgets and plan for staffing in advance. Notices of potential layoff to teachers, staff, and administrators must go out starting March 14, 2008.  
  • The final school district budget must be approved by June 30, 2008. 
  • While the state legislature also has a “deadline” of June 30th, they have been late in recent years.  In 2007, the legislature passed the budget on August 21st.   

  1 comment for “Supporting Public Schools

  1. April 15, 2008 at 10:16 am

    I want to note that Robert in Monterey has been doing an amazing job of covering this issue at Calitics. He’s spot on and he really gets the fact that cuts now may boost Republicans with their base by avoiding tax hikes but ten to twenty years down the line, when we don’t have enough educated people for jobs to keep companies in our State, we won’t have them to blame, they would have moved on to bigger and better tax breaks for the wealthy.

    And Republicans such as Arnold and Mimi, their children go to private schools.

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