California schools, colleges and universities have been ravaged in recent years by deep budget cuts that threaten to destroy public education in our state. Over the last two years alone, Governor Schwarzenegger has slashed more than $17 billion from our state’s schools, which are already drastically underfunded. And with the release of his May Revise of the state budget last week, the Governor proposed additional cuts to education that would jeopardize the futures of millions of students statewide.
The California School Employees Association (CSEA), along with concerned parents, teachers, community leaders and others, formed the California Advocates United to Save Education (CAUSE) to fight the Governor’s devastating cuts and hold the Governor and Legislature accountable to Californians who have identified education as a top priority for the state.
Tomorrow CAUSE will hold a statewide Day of Action to show strong community support for our schools. In communities from Eureka to Calexico, thousands of education advocates will mobilize to stop the Governor’s proposed cuts.
CSEA President Allan Clark:
California’s children have suffered enough. It’s time to save public education, and to do that we need more people in our communities to speak up.
CAUSE will initially focus on holding legislators and the governor to their word as they debate the Governor’s proposals and seek to compromise on a budget.
Last July, the Legislature passed and the governor signed a budget agreement that guaranteed this year’s school funding level in law. Less than 10 months later, Schwarzenegger is proposing to directly ignore that law and manipulate the voter-approved Proposition 98 minimum school funding guarantee. If the governor and the Legislature do not live up to their word, it would mean an additional cut of $2.4 billion to education funding, on top of the more than $17 billion that has been cut over the past two years. This equates to an additional cut of $400 per student and a total cut of $2,500 per student over the last two years.
Voters have said time and again that funding for schools and students should be a top priority, and now we are giving them a way to hold their representatives accountable for making it so. We’ve asked our elected leaders to sign ‘commitment cards’ to keep their promise to students. Tomorrow we are going to announce which legislators are committed to protecting education, and which refuse to sign our pledge.
The card commits lawmakers to “stand by my promise to California’s students and protect public education funding from further cuts; stand by the budget agreement signed into law (AB 4X 3) to restore $11.2 billion in funding owed to schools and community colleges; and oppose any attempts to suspend or undermine Proposition 98, the voter-approved minimum school funding guarantee.”
It’s shameful that our state’s leaders would even think of turning their backs on our students yet again. We’re going to make sure that, from this point forward, they stand by their word.
For a full schedule of tomorrow’s events and more information, go to the CAUSE Website at www.cause4education.org.