Shortsighted Budget Jeopardizes State’s Future
PTA President Urges Balance and Investment in Children
SACRAMENTO – California State PTA President Jo Loss issued the following response to news of the pending budget agreement.
“California State PTA and our nearly 1 million members have serious concerns with the long-lasting negative impact this budget will have on children and families in California.
“We recognize the state is facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis, but we are angered that our legislative leaders are choosing to solve the budget primarily with cuts to critical services, rather than identifying sufficient sources of new, ongoing revenue to provide a more balanced approach.
“Legislators and the Governor should not continue to try to balance the budget on the backs of our children and families. Our message remains constant: We must invest in children to ensure our future economic prosperity.
“The proposed budget cuts $6 billion more from K-12 schools and community colleges. This is in addition to more than $11 billion in cuts our schools and students have suffered over the past year. California’s education system ranks nearly last in the nation in terms of per-student funding, with some of the largest class sizes and the highest number of students per counselor, school nurse or other critical support staff members. Our schools are unable to withstand cuts of this magnitude and continue to provide the quality education that our students need and deserve.
“The budget agreement does include a commitment to restore money lost during this budget crisis – and this is a positive step. However, it is the responsibility of our state legislators to fund public education at all timesat a level where all children are able to learn. This budget fails that test. School districts will be forced to make additional cuts to critical programs. Class sizes will significantly increase, reducing the ability of our teachers to meet the individual needs of each student. Academic support classes, reading specialists, counselors, librarians and school nurses will be lost. We will see fewer arts and music classes. Our ability to provide students with up-to-date technological resources and hands-on science programs to prepare them for the global economy will continue to be jeopardized.
“In addition, the $226 million cuts to the Healthy Families Program places the health and well-being of our state’s neediest children and families in further jeopardy. The $528 million cut in the CalWORKs program similarly hurts these families.
“A budget should reflect the values of our citizens. Californians have consistently supported public education and children in prosperous and unstable economic times. So we must ask, Where are California’s priorities when the basic education and health needs of our children are not being adequately met?”
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.