Let the people vote

Governor Brown’s proposed budget relies heavily on a package of tax extensions subject to voter approval in a special election that may take place in June.  Funding for public schools in California face staggering reductions should the budget be balanced through cuts only. The non-partisan Legislative Analysts Office (LOA) estimates that without the revenue from tax extensions, K-12 schools will face an additional $4.5 billion cut, or nearly $1,000 per student (on top of the $17 billion in cuts since 2008). However, before school supporters can begin lobbying voters to pass the tax extensions, they must first lobby legislators for the right to vote. Legislators must approve placing the measure on the ballot by a 2/3 majority; Governor Brown estimates that decision must be made by March 10 to meet the requirements for a June special election.

Parent groups across the state have organized letter and petition drives to persuade legislators to support the special election.

  • Parents for Great Education have created a convenient page listing key legislators throughout the state, including the two Republican legislators who have not signed the anti-tax pledge.  Download sample letters and contact information here.
  • Educate our State has deployed social media networks to drive over 10,000 letters to Sacramento in the past week alone. Their “Let us Vote” campaign provides links to email letters that will be sent to Senator Joe Simitian and Assemblymember Bill Monning. Sample letters and contact information can be found here.
  • The California PTA has also launched a Speak up for Children initiative to convey the message from parents to legislators.  More information here.

Please consider taking a moment to register your voice to speak up for the children and our schools.

**UPDATE February 24, 2011**

Santa Cruz City Schools board passed a resolution last night supporting Governor Brown’s proposed tax extensions.

WHEREAS, state and local funding for schools has been cut by more than $18 billion, or about $1,900 per student in the last three years; and
WHEREAS, over the last several years, K-12 education funding has taken a disproportionate amount of the state’s budget cuts, and
WHEREAS, the Santa Cruz City Schools District has already made cuts as far away from the classroom as possible by reducing support staff, administration, and taking pay cuts across the board, and
WHEREAS, this past year the District was forced to reduce the school calendar by five days, and
WHEREAS, in spite of all these dramatic cuts, Santa Cruz City Schools has maintained programs, full-time librarians, credentialed arts and music programs, and the small class sizes that our students deserve, and
WHEREAS, the ability to maintain the aforementioned programs is due in no small part to the generosity of our community through over $3 million annually received from parcel tax revenues; and
WHEREAS, to begin to reverse this downward spiral, Californians must follow the lead of our committed local voters and retain the revenues that enable us to invest in our schools and students; and
WHEREAS, if Governor Brown’s proposal is approved by the voters, our district will probably be able to avoid teacher layoffs for 2011-2012, reduce some class sizes further, and eliminate furlough days from the calendar, and
WHEREAS, Governor Brown’s 2011-12 budget proposal offers a balanced approach between supporting the continuation of current revenues and making new cuts to solve the deficit; and
WHEREAS, the governor’s proposal to limit further cuts to schools in 2011-12 depends on voter approval of the extension of existing temporary revenues; and
WHEREAS, the Legislative Analyst Office reports that without the continuation of the current level of revenue funding, public schools might possibly be cut by another $4.8 billion, which would result in another $3 million cut for Santa Cruz City Schools; and
WHEREAS, all our local legislators have said they support education in their campaign speeches, and
WHEREAS, a cuts-only budget would further devastate an already bare-bones District budget for the 7000 students in Santa Cruz City schools;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, Santa Cruz City Schools strongly encourages our state legislators, including local representatives Bill Monning, Joe Simitian, and Sam Blakeslee, to avoid partisan positions and rigid ideology that would prevent them from keeping their commitments to protecting schools from further cuts and ensuring the continued investment our students deserve and our state
needs; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Santa Cruz City Schools district supports and will advocate for placing a measure on the June 2011 ballot calling for a five-year revenue extension to protect our schools and students by making education a priority in our state.