CFT statement on the Governor’s proposed budget
For immediate release: January 9, 2015
“Time to restore programs lost to the Great Recession”
Governor Brown’s proposed budget for 2015-16 includes increased funding for public education at all levels. But the governor’s observation that this budget’s Proposition 98 funding represents a 39% increase over four years needs context. In 2011, California school funding had hit bottom, due to a decade of disinvestment through cuts and the Great Recession. At that point $20 billion had been cut from K-14 funding.
Today’s proposed budget will contribute to better achievement levels for our students, and help to restore school programs we need for a quality public education system. But California’s public K-12 schools still rank near the bottom of the nation in per pupil funding and class size average. Much more needs to be done to bring our public schools to a funding level that gives our students the resources they need to excel.
CFT president Joshua Pechthalt noted, “The governor is a prudent steward of the state’s budget, but we also need his leadership in ensuring that California’s students and our most at-risk communities have the resources they desperately need in the coming years. The governor should go beyond simply acknowledging that the source of California’s success is Proposition 30; we need to make this progressive tax and its success permanent, build on it, and the governor should lead the way. Our students and their families depend not only on strong schools, but social programs like SSI, CalWorks, and subsidized childcare, that have been deeply impacted by cuts. It is time to fully restore important programs lost to the Great Recession.”
“While the state’s economy has been growing, we can’t assume that will continue,” Pechthalt said. “The Governor rightly credits Prop 30 for an improved budget, yet he insists it is a temporary tax. The loss in revenue of $6 billion a year generated by Prop 30 if the measure is allowed to expire will unnecessarily punish millions of Californians.
Jim Mahler, president of the CFT’s Community College Council, said, “On the same day we learn that the Obama administration is proposing to add resources to community college funding for low income students, we are deeply disappointed that the governor did not see fit to help part-time instructors in our community colleges hold office hours for their students, nor to create a pathway for adjuncts with proven records of excellence to become full-time instructors. In the State of the State, Governor Brown asserted his intention to help students move through college in a timely way. That requires more full-time instructors, restoration of classified student support positions lost to the recession, and proper resourcing for part-timers, who make up the bulk of the community college teaching workforce.”
Bob Samuels is a lecturer in English at UCLA, and president of the UC-AFT, representing lecturers and librarians throughout the University of California system. He said, in regard to the proposed UC budget, “We support the governor’s desire to freeze tuition, but we also believe a deal can be worked out where the university receives more state funds on the condition that it uses the money to hire more faculty, decrease the number of ineffective large lecture classes, and restore educational quality that has been degraded.”
The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 education employees, from Head Start through the University of California. It is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. More information: cft.org.