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Tardy budget deal further devastates schools O ACTION ne hundred days late, the state Legislature approved a new $87.5 billion state budget that will wreak further financial devastation on Cali- fornia’s already hard-hit public schools. The new budget, carried in a number of separate spending bills, will suspend Proposition 98 — state voters’ minimum funding guarantee to schools — and slash school appropriations by another $4.3 billion. This newest round of school cuts comes on top of $17 billion in funding reductions that have already hammered public schools, students, teachers and education support professionals. Those cuts have forced dramatic increases in class sizes, shorter in- structional years, reductions or eliminations of art, music and other programs, and thousands of layoffs of instructional person- nel. More than 30,000 layoffs of educators alone have been report- ed over the past two years. “These cuts are part of a legacy of underfunding of public schools,” CTA President David A. Sanchez told lawmakers. “This budget deal continues the downward spiral while providing new corporate tax breaks and pension takeaways for hardworking families.” CTA and its Education Co- alition partners battled hard to ensure that the final budget would provide funding in- creases for school. But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers slashed more than $7.5 billion from state funding to a l l pro- grams to fill a $19.1 billion budget reve- nue shortfall. More than half of those cuts State Controller John Chiang (second from right) joins CTA Secretary-Treasurer Gail Mendes, President David A. Sanchez, and Vice President Dean Vogel at a Summer In- stitute reception in August. sures that will improve health care protections for educators, students and their families. These measures build upon a platform established by the landmark federal health care reform package, signed into law on March 23, whose passage in Congress was spearheaded by the Obama administration. The seven CTA-backed mea- CTA, coalition win health care coverage improvements C TA and a coalition of public interest groups have won the passage of several state mea- passed the first-in-the-nation state legislation to create a state exchange, a key element of the new federal health care reform, through AB 1602, by Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Ange- les), and SB 900, by Senate Health Committee Chair Elaine Alquist (D-San Jose) and Senate Presi- dent Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). The bulk purchasing power sures that were signed into law this session both implement and improve provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and will be in force on Jan. 1, 2011. The California Legislature provided by this Health Insur- ance Exchange will enable mil- lions of Californians to afford coverage, and beginning in 2014 will allow consumers and busi- nesses “one-stop” shopping on health care plans. As of Sept. 23, the federal law 32 California Educator | OCTOBER 2010 SPECIAL ELECTION ISSUE sets a clear standard to prevent any insurer from rescinding coverage based on problems in a patient’s initial health questionnaire. AB 2470, by Assembly Member Hec- tor De La Torre (D-Los Angeles), goes beyond federal law by clearly allowing review by regulators of each case of rescission. To con- form with federal law, Assembly Member De La Torre also au- thored AB 2345, which prohibits health insurance from charging co-payments for some preventive services, such as pap smears, mammograms, other cancer screenings, and immunizations. The federal law prohibits in- surers from denying coverage for children up to age 19 due to pre- will hit public education. While the budget will provide K-12 schools with about $300 more per pupil than the gover- nor’s May budget proposal, the final adopted plan includes a number of adjustments and sus- pensions designed to give existing conditions, or denying treatment associated with pre-ex- isting conditions. An estimated 576,500 children in California have pre-existing conditions that could have led to denial of cover- age. CTA-backed AB 2244, by As- sembly Member Mike Feuer (D- Los Angeles), improves upon this protection by limiting the ability of an insurer to charge those chil- dren more than twice the premi- ums of healthy children, with the cost difference phased out by 2014, when insurers will be re- quired to charge everyone the same, regardless of health status. CTA-supported SB 1163, by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francis- Continued on page 37 Photo by Scott Buschman

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