California State PTA President Pam Brady released the following statement today regarding ongoing state budget deliberations in Sacramento:
“The latest budget proposals put forward by the Governor and the legislative conference committee still fail the basic test of good government: They do not reflect the values of our communities, and they do not put our children first. The magnitude of cuts included in these budget proposals will shortchange an entire generation of students. And today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce. Our state’s economic health in the future depends on the level of support we provide in our classrooms now.
“Legislative leaders who crafted the conference committee plan should be acknowledged for their efforts to take a more balanced approach than the Governor to solving the state’s current budget deficit. The conference committee plan, which did not pass out of the Senate or Assembly yesterday, would have generated some additional revenues to help mitigate cuts and to save essential programs that the Governor proposed to eliminate entirely, such as Healthy Families, CalWORKs and Cal Grants. These programs serve hundreds of thousands of children and students. It is shameful that any state leader in 2009 would even consider eliminating them, especially when our state receives matching dollars from the federal government for operating some of them.”
Education cuts still too deep
“The conference committee plan proposes about $680 million less in cuts to education programs than the Governor’s plan. The conference committee plan also took an important step by recognizing that cuts made to schools in the past two years must be repaid in future years when the economy improves. Again, we acknowledge the efforts of legislative leaders to try to cushion the impact of even deeper cuts on our schoolchildren. In this difficult budget situation, some additional cuts to education will be enacted, but the more than $5 billion in additional cuts proposed for this year and next is still too deep. These cuts come on top of more than $11 billion that has already been cut from schools.
“Children in our classrooms right now deserve better. At a time when students need more access than ever to quality programs and services so they can succeed in the future and help California thrive, we cannot pull the rug out from under them.
“A grave political climate currently exists in Sacramento: The super-majority vote needed to raise additional revenues to offset some of these deep cuts is extremely difficult to achieve. However, as the voice on behalf of nearly 1 million volunteer members and on behalf of more than 6 million children in the state, we cannot support any budget plan that drastically shortchanges children, just because it may be the ‘best that can be hoped for politically.’
California must stand for big visions and big dreams. We urge legislators and the Governor to put children first in their deliberations.
The California State PTA has nearly 1 million members throughout the state working on behalf of public schools, children and families, with the motto, “Every child, one voice.” The PTA is the nation’s oldest, largest and highest profile volunteer organization working to improve the education, health and welfare of all children and youth. The PTA also advocates at national, state and local levels for education and family issues. The PTA is nonprofit, nonsectarian and noncommercial.
For more information about the California State PTA, visit www.capta.org.