Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Do not sign Arnold's petitions

Local Education Coalition Members Urge Californians Not to Sign Governor's Budget Initiative Petitions
Measure Would Weaken Prop. 98 Protections

April 19, 2005

CHICO – Local members of the California Education Coalition today discussed the impact of Governor Schwarzenegger's broken promises to education and urged Californians not to sign the Governor's flawed budget measure petitions during a press conference at Jay Partridge Elementary School in Chico.

Local parents, teachers, school employees and administrators highlighted the fact that Governor Schwarzenegger has broken his word to California's students and schools on two fronts, by withholding $2 billion in this year's budget and by proposing changes to the voter approved Proposition 98 via his so-called "Live Within Our Means" (LWOM) budget initiative that would eliminate the minimum funding protections for schools.

"In the past four years, California's schools have lost more than 9.8 billion in state funding cuts," said Tamara Conry, a math teacher at Paradise Intermediate School. "As a parent and a classroom teacher I see how these cuts impact our local schools every day. Now the Governor wants us to sign petitions for an initiative that would destroy Prop.98, the law voters approved to make sure our schools receive minimum funding. Like the rest of the Governor's so-called reforms, this initiative will not help our schools one bit. We strongly urge Californians NOT to sign the Governor's petition."

Governor Schwarzenegger's budget proposal underfunds Proposition 98 and will only lead to more school closures, larger class sizes, additional layoffs of teachers and school support personnel, and the elimination of key student programs.

The Governor's LWOM Act exacerbates the problem by allowing him to make across-the-board cuts, including to education, during fiscal emergencies and eliminating the Prop. 98 provisions that require the state to repay the amounts owed to our schools and our students. Current provisions allow the legislature to make temporary cuts in funding without threatening the long-term funding level of education.

"Last year at this time, the one million members of the California State PTA worked with this Governor on a solution for the state's budget problem – a problem that was not created by our kids," said Ann Hayes, 13th District PTA. "This Governor promised that $2 billion in funding for our schools would be restored and that our kids would receive their fair share of any additional state revenues. He has broken his promise and once again our kids and our schools will suffer."

During his campaign for Governor, Schwarzenegger promised to protect Proposition 98, a law passed by voters that guarantees minimum funding for our schools, saying "Not over my dead body." Now, the Governor is proposing changes via the LWOM Act that would eliminate the funding protections the voters put into place with the initiative.

The California Education Coalition is comprised of organizations representing more than 1.5 million parents, teachers, school board members, school employees, and administrators, including:

Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) representing nearly 15,500 school administrators

California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO) representing more than 4,000 school finance and administrative managers

California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) representing all 58 county superintendents throughout California

California Federation of Teachers (CFT-AFL-CIO) representing nearly 90,000 education employees

California School Boards Association (CSBA) representing more than 1,000 K-12 school districts and county offices of education throughout California

California School Employees Association (CSEA) representing more than 230,000 classified school employees

California State PTA representing more than one million parents, teachers, and students in California

California Teachers Association (CTA) representing over 330,000 educators

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) representing more than 50,000 school employees in California

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