Immediate Action Needed to Stop the 65% Cut in School Transportation
Today the Budget Conference Committee took up the Governor’s proposals to cut funding for school transportation by 65% and to contract out classified school jobs.
As you may know, school transportation was funded in this past year out of the Public Transportation Account (PTA) outside the Prop 98 funding. The Governor now wants to take back that funding for the state’s General Fund to pay for debt service. The net effect is to reduce funding for the Home-to-School Transportation program by as much as 65%.
In addition to the transportation cut, the Conference Committee also took up the Governor’s proposal to repeal SB 1419, CSEA’s sponsored bill that requires school districts to follow the same ten state guidelines for contracting out.
Senator Mark Leno (San Francisco) challenged the Governor’s staff on this proposal and argued that these guidelines are the same guidelines that every state agency has to comply with, and that there are some exceptions in law already that permits contracting out.
The Department of Finance officials argued that some larger school districts have been able to ‘maneuver’ around the law, but smaller school districts haven’t figured out how to get around this law so they cannot contract out. And that is why a repeal of the law is needed.
Senator Mimi Walters (Tustin) chimed in for the need to repeal SB 1419 and stated that one school principal in her district got three bids for $8,000 each for a carpet replacement, and ended up doing the work himself for $1,500 from Home Depot. She thinks that this anecdote supports the need to repeal the bill.
Assemblyman Blumenfield (Van Nuys) also challenged the Governor’s staff and stated that many times, the contrary is true, and that contracting out ends up costing more in the long-term.
The Committee did not take any formal actions on theses issues today.
CSEA Is Fighting Back
CSEA is strongly in opposition to these draconian proposals to cut education by the Governor. This past Monday, during a special public comment period by the Budget Conference Committee, CSEA members joined their colleagues in the Education Coalition to testify against the massive cuts to education and to oppose the transportation and contracting out proposals.
TAKE ACTION NOW
These proposals are outright attacks on classified employees. We urge all our members and staff to contact the Conference Committee and your local legislators with your own personal or district story with the following messages:
* Oppose contracting out classified school jobs. This is a mean-spirited attack on classified employees. It is simply a way to eliminate health and retirement benefits for school employees to squeeze out profits for corporations. The existing laws ensure that students are safe and taxpayer dollars are protected.
* Oppose cutting school transportation by 65%. This proposal would result in massive layoffs and puts student safety at risk. Many districts are making children walk further and further to schools. It also disproportionately hurt the neediest students.
Here are the names of the Conference Committee Members and their district’s phone contact. The budget conference committee is made up of five legislators from both the Assembly and Senate:
* Senator Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego) – (619)-409-7690
* Senator Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) – (909) 466-4180
* Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) – (415) 557-1300 (Please thank him for his fight on contracting out)
* Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) – (562) 529-6659
* Senator Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Hills) – (949)-457-7333
* Assemblymember Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), who chairs the Conference Committee – (707) 649-2307
* Assemblymember Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) – (323) 225-4545
* Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills) – (818) 904-3840 (Please thank him also for his fight on contracting out)
* Assemblymember Jim Nielson (R-Gerber) (530) 223-6300
* Assemblymember Rodger Niello (R-Fair Oaks)-(916) 349-1995
Here’s a web link to get more information on these legislators or to find your own legislator:
The Budget Conference Committee will continue their review of the Governor’s Budget proposals through this weekend. They are trying to make final decisions by mid-June given the state’s cash flow problem. We will provide you with updates as new information become available.