Students, teachers, and community members are coming out to defend education funding at all levels and to show support for Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget.
Brown’s proposal would make cuts in education funding, but it would also extend current tax measures for an additional five years.
“We’re going to lose money either way,” Larry Hendel, a California Faculty Association staff member, said. “Right now the proposed budget is half cuts, half tax extensions. If the budget fails, it’s all cuts.”
“I think it’s the best deal we can get,” Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint said of the budget proposal. “It’s certainly not ideal by any means but we have to be pragmatic. We can’t cut off our nose to spite our face.”
Brown’s proposed budget, which projected a $25.4 billion state budget gap over the next 18 months, aims to cut state spending by $12.5 billion and temporarily extend several current taxes, according to his website.
Flint said the alternative to the governor’s proposed budget would be disastrous to Oakland’s schools.
“It would be catastrophic for children and for the economy down the road,” Flint said.
Flint said that urban schools, which he said are already struggling to deal with issues of inequity, would be hit the hardest.
Oakland’s schools will be picketing and handing out leaflets at school sites, holding district-wide fire drills to symbolize the state of emergency afflicting public education, and holding a “teach-in” to educate the public about the state and district budgets.
Higher education students and teachers are participating in the day of action as well, with gatherings scheduled at colleges and universities throughout the Bay Area.
Sonoma State University plans to hold its daylong “Camp Out for Quality Education” event, featuring guest lecturers, symposiums and entertainment.
City College of San Francisco will host a town hall forum on the funding crisis. San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar and Board of Education President Hydra Mendoza are among those expected to attend.
“Spending money on education will get us out of the recession, not put us deeper into it,” Hendel said.
Erika Heidecker, Bay City News