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Governor’s plan for more school cuts W ith educators and stu- dents across the state still reeling from the $17 billion in cuts made to public education over the last two years, the governor released a 2010-11 budget proposal that includes further cuts of $2.5 billion. Cali- fornia schools will soon feel the gravity of that move as the state’s March 15 deadline for handing out preliminary pink slips to ed- ucators approaches. Deep cuts abound Nearly 450 educators will re- ceive preliminary pink slips in • •• • • • the Corona-Norco Unified School District in Riverside County. The district wanted five furlough days for educators to defray what they thought was an $18 million deficit — but that soared to $31 million be- cause of cuts in the governor’s spending plan. “Now the district says the five furlough days won’t even cut it,” says Bill Fisher, president of the Corona-Norco Teachers Association. “We took two fur- lough days last year. This dis- trict has cut $52 million over the last three years.” The governor’s budget proposal would: ManipulateProposition 98 toreduce 2009-11 school fundingby more than $2.5 billion.Those reductionswouldcomeontopof the previous cuts that exceed $17 billion. Slash school fundingby another $400 per student. Renegeonthegovernor’sagreementwith educatorsandthe Legislatureby redefiningthe school fundingamount inthe2008-09 budget.That redefinitionwould underminethe state’sminimum fundingguarantee andpave theway for thegovernor’s cutting$2.5 billion—andnot repayingthemore than$11billionowedto schools. Reduce school fundingto$600millionbelowtheminimum “maintenanceof effort”(MOE) level requiredtoqualify for federal stimulusmoney the state has received. Make itharder toattract andretainquality teachersby virtually eliminating teacher seniority protections, reducing lead time requiredfor certificatedlayoffs, andreducingor eliminating substitute teachers. Allowthe contracting out of school servicesnowperformedby educationsupportprofessionals, andreduceor eliminate central office classifiedandcertificatedpositions. Bad policy positions tied to budget The governor’s budget proposalwould make policy changes to the Education Code that resurrect the anti-union proposals that voters rejected in 2005 or legislators have defeated. These include a plan that would virtually eliminate teacher seniority, shorten layoff notice timelines, and limit the use of substitute teachers. Under the guise of reducing“administrative costs,”the governor’s planwould also decimate the numbers of support personnelworking in public schools.“California is in danger of failing an entire generation of children,”the Education Coalition letter reads.“Every legislator claiming education is a priority must reject the governor’s proposed budget manipulations and proposed newcuts in funding to K-12 education.” ABOVE: In a Jan. 26 protest at the San Francisco Unified school board meeting, members of United Educators of San Francisco rallied to show their concern for fairness in the budget process. In the 62,000-student Elk Grove Unified in Sacramento County, students and educators will feel the hurt as 500 pink slips are projected to be given out to educators, says Tom Gardner, president of Elk Grove Education Association. The district reports that it faces having to cut $55 million from its budget for the new fiscal year starting July 1. “Everybody is very nervous right now about what’s going to happen,” says Gardner. “We took two furlough days this school year and the district wants us to accept five more in the next year.” “Enough is enough,” declares CTA President David A. San- chez. “Schools have already suf- fered far more than our fair share, over $17 billion in total. We are pressing lawmakers to block the governor’s school funding manipulations and his proposal to cut another $2.5 bil- lion from public education. And we are urging our members to take part in our March 4 state- wide activities to call attention to the battle to stop the irreparable harm these proposed cuts would do to our students and our schools.” In San Francisco Unified, ed- ucators are demanding transpar- ency from the district as they cope with the shock of the super- intendent’s projection of a need for $113 million in cuts over the next two years. In a Jan. 26 pro- test at the school board meeting, members of United Educators of San Francisco marched in the rain and chanted their demands for fairness in the budget pro- cess. Proposed cuts include hik- ing class sizes, freezing pay in- creases, reducing funding for art and music, and gutting funding for struggling schools. “All of this chaos started with the cuts made in Sacramento,” says Dennis Kelly, president of UESF. “Teachers here are facing the same pain as educators across the state. We are maintaining a positive relationship with the district to help resolve this crisis and keep cuts as far away from students as possible. We can trust, but we need to verify.” Rejecting the proposal Within days of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s release of his budget proposal, CTA and its Continued on page 37 FEBRUARY 2010 | 31 Photo by Matthew Hardy

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