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Arnold Plans To Try Again to Destroy Public Education

by: Robert Cruickshank

Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 10:32:20 AM PDT

Having barely escaped Arnold's demands for budget cuts this spring, education in California is in his crosshairs yet again. Arnold is announcing that California now faces a $10 billion deficit and as a result, held a closed-door meeting with education leaders warning them of cuts of $2 to $4 billion that could come as soon as next month.

The reaction was swift:

"There is just no way we would be able to cut that much," said Scott Plotkin, executive director of the California School Boards Assn., who was at the meeting. "For virtually every district I know of, this would be catastrophic."...

Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. David L. Brewer said that Schwarzenegger's proposal would cost the district as much as $440 million. He called cuts of that magnitude "impossible."

"They're going to have to go out and borrow money because we'd go bankrupt," Brewer said. "Fiscally, we can't do that without literally having to shut down schools."

By law, teachers cannot be fired unless they are told months in advance.

"You can't just hand out pink slips," Brewer said. Teachers "have protections, they have union agreements."

Plotkin was also quoted in the SF Chronicle saying he thought this was an effort by Arnold to scare the education community into backing a budget that wasn't cuts only. But I am not so sure this is the case. Arnold is talking as if education cuts are inevitable, and if he were truly interested in avoiding them, he would not have called a lame-duck legislature into session - he'd have waited until December 1 and allowed a new legislature with fewer Yacht Party members to take their seats and solve the mess.

Complicating matters is the fact that the budget deal that resulted from Don Perata's surrender in September is worse than we expected according to an analysis posted at the California Progress Report:

In a nutshell, the budget agreement includes new sweeping midyear cut authority for the executive branch, a restrictive new state spending cap that was billed as an expansion of the state's rainy day fund, and new corporate tax breaks that will cost the state more than $1 billion a year. The first two proposals require voter approval, presumably in a June 2009 special election, but the tax breaks are permanent unless reversed by the Legislature or at the ballot box.

All three proposals were carefully crafted by their proponents but were jammed through the Legislature at the last minute without receiving property scrutiny and review. Democratic leaders have vehemently opposed similar proposals in the past but surrendered on all three proposals in one fell swoop-a boon to fiscally conservative Republicans who have fought for a restrictive state spending cap and midyear cut authority for years.

The spending cap and midyear cut authority undermine the power of Democrats to protect education funding. Apparently these aren't yet in effect, but Democrats have already given up as much as they can. Beginning November 5th their job is to fight, fight, fight. They will likely have a voter mandate to do so.

They will also have common sense on their side. Cutting education spending - or any other government spending - during a severe recession is an act of madness that guarantees the recession will get deeper and last longer. Arnold needs to not only look at a new sales tax, but admit his error and restore the Vehicle License Fee, which would restore $6 billion to the budget immediately and make this immeasurably easier to solve.

Only if Democrats hold their ground will that happen. And for them to hold their ground, we must make them do so.

Robert Cruickshank :: Arnold Plans To Try Again to Destroy Public Education
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If Democrats are serious about (8.00 / 2)
seeing change in the State legislature then they MUST get behind Democrats running in tough races.  THEY HAVE to if they want that magic 2/3's to keep Education from being gutted (And most don't realize that when we talk about Education budgets, we are not just talking about K-12 but Community Colleges as well, the place where many learn valuable jobs skills or are given the chance to transfer to four year schools).

Every safe seat should be interested in starting some kind of pac to focus money on those seats that could be won with the right kind of money and effort.  I believe this, I believe that Republicans and Independents care more about education than their representatives give them credit for.  When people are asked to write hundreds of dollars in checks to their school district to cover the budget shortfall, that tax burden falls on far fewer people when a strong education system benefits us all, even, gasp, those people who don't have kids in public schools.

Mind boggling.

OC Progressive
Progress, not perfection!

Apparently the CSU voluntarily gave back money (0.00 / 0)
recently--$31.3 million.  


Though, I suspect that Arnold told Reed that either he could give up some now or much more later (though probably he'll still wind up giving up lots later).

There's a link on that page to let you send a fax to Reed.

People all over the country see this state as paradise.  But it is rotting away.  It is by far the most politically-dysfunctional place I've lived.  And it's because of the 2/3 rule.

Arnold/Education (0.00 / 0)
  CTA threw a snit over not getting everything they wanted from the legislature and so refused to take a position on Prop 11 to "punish" the legislature.  Well, if Prop 11 passes they will see further and further budget cuts on schools as has been pointed out, the only legislature that will help schools is one where there is 2/3rds in both houses and that will only happen in the legislature controls redistricting, rather than the republican commission.  CTA,
wake up!  There's still time to poor a million into an ad
blitz to defeat Prop 11 and give your members a chance to
teach in a decent environment in the next decade.  Otherwise,
you're going to lose everything.

They would be better served (8.00 / 1)
By pouring a ton of money into the competitive Assembly races and then letting it be known behind the scenes that Don Perata needs to resign his leadership position immediately - we've had enough of his surrenderism on the budget, time for Steinberg to have a crack at it.

CTA should also get serious about funding the measure on the spring special election ballot to do away with the 2/3 rule.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
Past time for some smashmouth politics by the Dems.... (5.00 / 1)
...if they don't stick it to the ReThugs and make them responsible for this they will be the recipients of a backlash the likes of which we've not seen since the 1920s.

If a school closes...

Where do the parents stash the kids while they got to work?

With Grandma?

Who lives in Oklahoma?

This is it folks. The ReThugs want to dismantle society. They figure they will be safe in their gated communities. Another fallacious assumption as anyone who looks at the burglary and robbery rates would know....

I'd like to see Ahnuld do this, cut schools so they must close, and then have the Dems impeach him. It's past time for some serious pushback on the Party of Greed, Murder and Theft.

There's no money left to cut in schools (5.00 / 1)
and schools can't cut midyear. All their spending is in salaries and in things they have to buy.

Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

Think about it (0.00 / 0)
"They will also have common sense on their side. Cutting education spending - or any other government spending - during a severe recession is an act of madness that guarantees the recession will get deeper and last longer."

Jobs, not education is the highest priority during a recession.  The people of California already have the skills and desire to work.  Money is best spent on programs that encourage investment and employment.  Deficit spending only leads to further debt.  I am not an advocate for reducing education spending (goodness knows we build too many prisons), but since education represents half of the state budget, the education system should expect to feel a pinch when money is tight.

So, beggar tomorrow's economy (8.00 / 2)
and shortchange today's children.

[ Parent ]
Nice to see a Hooverite here (8.00 / 2)
Education spending IS jobs, first of all. These cuts could lead to job losses in the tens of thousands around the state. Teachers thrown out of work, more homes foreclosed, and a ripple effect throughout the economy, hurting small businesses and their employees. Which in turn will widen, not close, the budget deficit.

jsw did a good job explaining the foolishness of education cuts - that means future generations of Californians will NOT have the skills needed to work.

Finally, your entire post assumes that the budget deficit is a force of nature - you say "money is tight" the same way someone might say "lotta rain lately" or "gee it's been windy out."

That is a deeply misleading way to frame the problem. Our state's budget deficit is the product of a deliberate move by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republicans in the legislature to starve California government of needed tax revenue. We have the money in this state to avert these cuts. But Republicans and Arnold do not want us to go out and get it.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
But teachin' ain't a real job! (8.00 / 2)
Actually, I'm enjoying the new participation of Mr. Haverstock.  It's so rare that we get to hear reflexive center-right conventional wisdom from any of the various corporate-funded news and opinion outlets.

[ Parent ]
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