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Thursday, March 13, 2008 | Emily Alpert‘s story about how budget cuts are affecting Curie School illustrates what is going on in schools throughout the state of California. If the legislature passes the budget proposed by the governor, California’s ranking will slip down to being the 48th out of the 50 states in public school funding.

How ironic! The governor named this “The Year of Education.” The committee he appointed to develop proposals for “Excellence in Education” completed two years of work and presented their proposals to the governor in January. He has yet to release the proposals for public discussion. News has leaked about many of them. There are some very worthwhile proposals that wouldn’t cost the state any more money. So why won’t the governor let the public see the proposals?

They include a different mechanism for school funding that might go a long way toward providing greater equity and fairness in school funding. As Emily Alpert pointed out, some schools receive funding from federal sources while schools like Curie have to depend on the generosity of parents to provide Kleenex and pencils.

The state legislative analyst says that the governor’s proposed budget should be rejected because it does not prioritize the key functions the state constitution requires the state government to finance. Chief among those responsibilities is the education of California public school students. It will take a two-thirds vote of the state legislature to cancel Proposition 98, the public school funding bill we voters passed by a large margin and had placed in the state constitution. Legislators, the ball is in your court now, and children, their parents and school staffs are anxiously waiting to see what you are going to do.

It’s now up to California citizens to insist that their legislators prepare a more realistic budget for the next fiscal year than the governor has proposed.

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