Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Local School Districts face financial trouble

We are told this morning that each of the major school districts in the county are in financial trouble. Last year, when Natomas was in trouble, the Sacramento Bee and County Superintendent David Gordon opined that the Board of Education was financially irresponsible. However, realistically, the economic troubles were caused by the state and national economic crisis. The state has provided schools with $18 billion less in state aid over the last three years- thus the local districts are going broke.
Note to Sacramento Bee.  It wasn't the School Board, it was the economic crisis!
How did we get into this fix? Well, first was the economic collapse caused by the bankers and the real estate fraud artists. That took 13 Trillion from the economy crashing the U.S. and the international economy. That produced a dramatic drop in sales tax and property taxes and a California economic crisis. School funding reveals the nature of crisis. We have larger classes and fewer teachers. School reform has stopped- except for the politicians hot air. School funding makes up a total of 30% of the state budget. Any crisis in the state budget and any cuts in the state budget will make school budgets worse. The crisis will get worse.
Politicians and editorial writers discuss the economic crisis as if the crisis is a neutral act, or as if a natural act. Like rain or snow. The school budgets are a disaster not because of some natural phenomena. The crisis was created by people and policies of our government and of the financial system.

"The reality is that we got into this mess because of an overwhelming excess of greed and stupidity on the part of the Wall Street bankers and the people deciding economic policy. We continue to face excessive rates of unemployment because of a continuing reluctance to pursue policies that can restore the economy to health.”says economist Dean Baker.

California will need to extend the current taxes to fund the schools and to repair the social safety net. Anti tax radicals and Republicans oppose any tax increases and they oppose allowing these issues to be placed on the ballot so the people can vote.

Here is how it works in Sacramento County. There has been a nearly 30 percent drop in sales tax for Sacramento County over the past five years. Property tax funds an even larger share of county budgets, and plummeting real estate values have meant even less income for counties to pay their bills.
During the current fiscal year (2009) , Sacramento's assessed property values dropped by 6.4 percent, and the outlook is for a continued decline into next year. And, the ongoing budget-crisis impacts from the state also caused by the financial recession, which cut funding for counties, yet still requires them to provide costly programs. The reality is that almost all of California's counties are facing significant budget shortfalls resulting in cuts in programs, services and staffing.
Natomas Unified was one of the early casualties. Now, most of the school districts in the area are facing a budget crisis and laying off thousands of teachers. Many more will follow- even with the teachers giving up salary. The states and California are in a downward spiral and it will continue for at least 3-4 years. The children, and the working people are paying for the robbery of the financial classes.
Today, Californians are working harder and earning less
while corporate profits soar. As homeowners, consumers
and students we see our wealth being stripped away by
banks. Our government plunges into debt waging
trillion-dollar wars. Meanwhile, our infrastructure
erodes and climate change proceeds unchecked. Schools,
daycare centers, senior citizen facilities, clinics,
parks and firehouses are starved for funds so that
corporations and the rich can get billions in tax

Corporate America's unprovoked assault on working
people has been carried out by manufacturing a need for
fiscal austerity. We are told that there is no more
money for essential human services, for the care of
children, or better public schools, or to help lower
the cost of a college education. The fact is that big
banks and large corporations are hoarding trillions in
cash and using tax loopholes to bankrupt our

Spending on social needs is not the reason governments
at all levels are facing massive budget short falls.
Our debt and deficit problems are a direct result of
corporate tax rollbacks, and the extortionist policies
of banks and financial institutions that are engaged in
a coordinated and massive wealth transfer from the
people to their own coffers.
Attend the National Teach In on the economic crisis, April 5, at CSU-Sacramento.  11 A.M.
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