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California Schools Face “Paralyzing” Cuts – Ballot Measure Outlook Not Promising

With overwhelming state budget deficits looming, California’s schools anticipate layoffs of thousands of teachers, larger class sizes, school closures, and possibly a shortened school year. Public schools are poised to lose counselors, nurses and librarians as well as funding for athletic programs, art, music, and technical education. Jack O’Connell, state Superintendent of Public Instruction, says additional cuts to public education would be paralyzing.

Despite news that The Los Angeles Unified School District may lay off as many as 2,400 teachers and 2,000 other personnel to deal with a budget shortfall for the upcoming school year, polls show voters unlikely to pass budget-related measures in tomorrow’s election. This means the state’s K-12 schools and community colleges may face up to an $8.6 billion cut over two years. “We think about having a world-class education system,” says O’Connell. “These cuts would bring us a Third World education system.”

According to The Associated Press, education advocates say the budget cuts would further weaken a public school system that lags behind other states by almost all achievement measures. In its annual national survey released in January, Education Week magazine gave the state a C grade overall and a D for its student achievement — 38th overall. California ranked 47th in per-pupil spending, with an average $7,571 per student in California compared with a national average of $9,961.

The California Teachers Association (CTA) supports propositions 1A-1F.

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