Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Economic Crisis and schools

Last year California had a serious budget crisis, over 34 billion in missing revenue. The legislature and the governor passed some temporary tax increases and made harsh budget cuts to get us through this year. Propositions 1 A- 1E, would continue this budget “solution” for a total of 4 years. However, the state, like other states continues to fall further behind. We will soon receive an estimate from the Legislative Analyst’s office, but it appears that California is at least $21.3 billion behind at this time even with the increased taxes and budget cuts.
California, and most other states, have a budget crisis as a result of the national economic crisis – significantly a banking crisis. The robber barons of finance capital have stolen the money, they have looted the treasury and our pensions and now they want to return to business as usual without any significant reform of the economic system. Just give them more tax payer money to bail out the banks.

It is past time for us to say- NO. It is time to restore Glass -Steagal, gain ownership of some major banks, and to get a national health care system along with bailing out the states to avoid draconian cuts in schools and other human services.

The severity of the national and international economic collapse has created budget shortfalls for state and local governments. Dean Baker, CEPR Co-Director and an author of a report says "Since many states are required by their charters or constitutions to balance their budgets, states will end up using federal stimulus dollars to offset these shortfalls." It currently looks as if much of the stimulus package will be used to back fill state budget shortages which sharply limits the potential success of the stimulus.
California will receive a great deal of money for education. The proposals have been approved. Most of the money will go to hire teachers who have been scheduled to be laid off.
As we debate the ballot issues, it is important to keep in mind that the economic crisis was not created in Sacramento, it was not created by schools and teachers. There is a great deal of misplaced anger being posted and shouted.

No on Prop. 1 A.
Since 2002 the CSU has lost almost $1 billion in state funding. Students have been charged more fees to make up the losses. Prop. 1A places a spending cap on the state budget that will make these cuts permanent. The CSU budget will not be restored to the levels of 2002 and your tuition will continue to rise. The Board of Regents is voting this week to increase tuition for the Fall by 10%.

[Prop 1A] would actually make it more difficult for future governors and legislatures to enact budgets that meet California's needs and address state priorities. It would amend the state Constitution to dictate restrictions on the use of funds put into the reserve and limit how "unanticipated" revenues can be used in good years. It could lock in a reduced level of public services, including university education, by not taking proper account of the state's changing demographics and actual growth in costs.

Yes on 1 B.
California's k-12 education system is in crisis because it is underfunded. Contrary to the wishes of the voters, politicians continue to fail to adequately fund our schools. When comparisons include cost of living- California ranks 47th. out of the 50 states in per pupil expenditures. Our schools are suffering. This is unacceptable.

Prop. 1 B would begin to repay the schools some $9 Billion taken by the Legislature from school funding this year in response to the economic crisis. The money would be repayed beginning in 2011, when we hope this economic crisis will have passed. Prop 1 B would return California to the minimum guarantee of funding for schools that exists in current law.
Note in the post below, the public votes with the teachers and does not have confidence in the legislature.

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