Lawsuit seeking cash for schools
Governor broke his word, say teachers and schools chief.
By Alexa H. Bluth -- Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 2:15 am PDT Wednesday, August 10, 2005
California's largest teachers union and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell announced Tuesday that they have sued Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to seek $3 billion more for public schools.
The California Teachers Association and O'Connell, a Democrat elected statewide to his nonpartisan post, say the Republican governor broke his word and violated state law by failing to give K-14 schools (K-12 schools and community colleges) more in his 2005-06 budget. Some California parents also joined as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
"We've exhausted all of our other remedies, and the judicial option is our last remaining option to adequately fund public education," O'Connell said.
Schwarzenegger's budget aides said Tuesday they are confident the lawsuit will not hold up in court and that the governor's budget was approved legally by the state Legislature and sufficiently funds schools.
The lawsuit comes after a months-long battle between Schwarzenegger and education advocates over a deal they struck in January 2004.
Facing a massive budget shortfall, the new governor persuaded a powerful and vocal education coalition to accept a $2 billion cut to K-12 schools and the suspension of Proposition 98's minimum funding guarantees. In exchange, it was announced, the cut and any resulting lost money from the suspension would be restored in future years when the state's fiscal picture brightened.
"Just one year later, however, the governor changed his mind about the funding agreement," states the lawsuit filed late Monday in Sacramento Superior Court.