It’s not the state budget that we all hoped for and it is far from what our students need and deserve, but our hard work and organizing did make a difference as the Governor signed a budget that closed the state’s multi-billion dollar deficit while maintaining current funding for local school districts and preventing summer layoffs.
As part of the budget package, lawmakers approved AB 114, which for this year prevents school districts from issuing additional layoffs in August and essentially waives three-year reserve requirements. The law repeatedly states that each school district shall project the same level of revenue as it received in 2010-11 and shall maintain staffing and programs commensurate with that level. Some school district officials are crying foul, but let me be clear this law is designed to ensure stability for students and schools, avoid midyear cuts and prevent districts from gaming the system.
Funding public education and other essential services shouldn’t be partisan issues, but every Republican refused to extend the temporary taxes or even let votersd decide for themselves. I do want to thank the Governor and Democratic leaders for engaging in the work they were elected to do. The state’s existing tax structure benefits the wealthy and big corporations at the expense of the middle class. It’s also helped build the state’s structural budget deficit that Republicans are now using to starve public programs. For example, California is now funding public schools at $7,900 per student compared to New York at $15,000 per student. CTA is working with other labor unions and community groups to restore fairness and bring some common sense changes to the state’s tax system.
The approved budget also protects the integrity of the state minimum school funding law by requiring that any funding shortfalls must be restored and it fully funds CTA’s Quality Education Investment Act, which provides additional resources to lower-performing schools. Sadly, the budget makes more dramatic cuts to our colleges and universities. The CSU and UC systems each lost $650 million, sparking more tuition increases for students. CSU tuition has doubled in the last five years. Read more budget details on the CTA website