Brown’s Budget Proposal Spares K-12 Education

From CSEA News

1/12/11

SACRAMENTO — On Monday, Governor Brown introduced his budget proposal to address the state’s $25.4 billion budget deficit.  Brown called the proposal “a tough budget for tough times.”

In stark contrast to the approach taken by Governor Schwarzenegger, and in recognition of the $18 billion in cuts education programs have taken over the last three years, Governor Brown’s proposal spares K-12 education funding from any additional cuts contingent on voters approving an extension of temporary taxes that are set to expire in July. 

“Schools have borne the brunt of spending reductions in recent years, so this budget maintains funding at the same level as the current year,” Brown said.

Just last week, new State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson declared a “financial state of emergency” in California’s schools, saying that $18 billion in cuts over the last three years are taking their toll.

To help ease the school funding crisis, Brown has offered a balanced approach to the budget with $12 billion in revenues, $12.5 billion in cuts, $1.9 billion in “other solutions” and a $1 billion reserve. He will also ask voters approve a five-year extension of temporary taxes in a June special election. If voters do not pass the temporary tax extension, Proposition 98 will be cut by an additional $2 billion.

“We appreciate Governor Brown’s frank and open dialogue on California’s budget and his willingness to propose solutions that would spare schools from further drastic cuts,” said Association President Allan Clark.

While K-12 fares well under the proposal, community colleges and higher education face deep cuts in funding and raised fees for students. Community colleges face a $400 million cut and an increase in fees from $26 per unit to $36. Two months ago, the chancellors and trustees of community colleges agreed in principle to support fee increases tied to inflation, as long as additional revenues were kept in the community college system, and not diverted into the state’s general fund.

Next Steps

The Governor has adopted an aggressive plan and is working with the Legislature to adopt the statutory changes proposed in his budget within 60 days or by March 1st. The timeline is intended to adopt the statutory changes necessary to implement the program cuts measure and place the extension of the temporary taxes on the June special election ballot. Once the results of the special election are known, the appropriate changes and adjustments will be made for legislative review and approval by the Governor. 

CSEA and the Education Coalition will continue to work with the Governor and the Legislature to move the temporary tax extension to the ballot and ensure that they understand that any further cuts will devastate California’s education system.

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