Monday, April 25, 2011

CTA's State of Emergency campaign

The “State of Emergency” campaign came to Main Street in Santa Clara today, drawing media attention to local impacts of the Legislature’s stalemate on the state budget crisis.
Silicon Valley teachers, parents and labor leaders held a news conference on Main Street to dramatize that their urgent demand for state lawmakers to extend some temporary taxes is really about “Main Street priorities” like protecting our schools, public safety and communities from devastating cuts.
Speakers were Don Dawson, CTA Board member and San Jose educator; teacher Tracy Pope, president of United Teachers of Santa Clara (UTSC); UTSC member, teacher and Santa Clara Unified School District parent Viola Smith; teacher Dave Villafana, president of Cupertino Education Association; Santa Clara Unified parent Stephen McMahon, president of the San Jose Teachers Association; San Jose firefighter Jeff Welch, president of San Jose Firefighters Local 230; and Anna Schlotz, lead organizer for the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council.
With tax deadline day looming on Monday, April 18, speakers thanked the public for paying the taxes that fund our services, but reminded them of the consequences of massive cuts if some temporary taxes are not extended. The governor is seeking the tax extensions as part of his balanced approach to ending the state’s crisis. Lawmakers have made $12 billion in cuts already, and must extend the taxes to close the remaining $15 billion deficit, said Don Dawson, a teacher in the East Side Union High School District and a member of the CTA board of directors.

“Bay Area public schools and cities cannot survive on an all-cuts state budget and still provide the services our students and communities need,” Dawson said. “This is a Main Street issue.  That’s why teachers are asking the public to support our ‘State of Emergency’ campaign to pressure lawmakers to act now to even keep the revenues we have.”
The details of the new CTA campaign to pressure lawmakers are It includes a May 9-13 statewide mobilization, protest rallies, outreach to parents and legislators, and sit-ins at the State Capitol. California’s K-12 schools have been cut by more than $20 billion the past three years, costing 30,000 educators their jobs, and hurting students who are facing soaring class sizes and the elimination of music and art, as well as school library closures and a shorter school year.
Dawson noted that his San Jose high school district is on track to lose 200 teachers over three years, and that cuts to librarians mean well-stocked libraries are now only open to students one hour a week.
UTSC chapter President Tracy Pope said her chapter strongly supports “the CTA State of Emergency mobilizing plan to pressure lawmakers to act. Part of that plan is a large May 13 rally in San Francisco, where I plan to be, along with many of my Santa Clara colleagues. We are fed up. The Legislature can do better than this. Lawmakers need to support the governor’s budget and the temporary increase of some taxes.”

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