We hear every day about the effects of budget cuts on our children’s education and health. What can parents do to help our schools? Some of you may have participated in the recent Day of Action on March 4 to stand up for the future of our schools and the future of California. Here are some ideas for taking action this spring:
Collect Signatures for a Ballot Initiative — PTA is serious about supporting public schools. The California State PTA recently announced that it is actively backing the Californians for Improved School Funding’s ballot initiative, the Local Control of Local Classrooms Funding Act. If qualified for the November 2010 ballot and approved by voters, the proposed Act would lower the threshold for passage of local educational parcel taxes to 55% (still a supermajority!). It requires advance disclosure on how funds will be spent, annual audits, oversight by an independent citizens’ committee, and offering an exemption to senior citizens. Funds raised under the initiative could not be taken or offset by the state in its educational funding decisions.
Talk to everyone in your community — friends, family, neighbors – about why their support for funding health and education is needed. Write a letter to the editor of your newspaper.
Attend the State PTA Convention in April — Join the rally at the Capitol on April 29 and the Superintendent of Public Instruction Candidates Forum on April 30. The Forum is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters.
Schedule a visit to your legislators’ district offices — Talk about local impacts of budget cuts and hand-deliver signed letters from your students. Now is the time, as the budget is being drafted.
Sign up to get Legislative Alerts! — The California PTA web site, www.capta.org, has a wealth of information on current legislation in Sacramento (see the Advocacy Program).
In the past two years, the state has cut $17 billion from schools, and deep cuts to social services have added to the burden borne by children and families. An additional $2.4 billion is now being proposed in new cuts to schools, as well as the possible elimination of entire health programs that serve children. PTA strongly opposes these proposals.
Keep your PTA strong by keeping parents informed and involved. Elect your new PTA officers this spring to give them time to organize for the upcoming year. Send representatives to your council meetings and sign up to attend the 17th District Spotlight on PTA in May.
If your PTA or PTSA needs help or information on these or other issues please let us know!
Colette J. Rudd
President, 17th District PTA