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Education Leaders Warn Of Dismal Cuts

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Senate committee met for hours to discuss the effects of school cuts.  Superintendents detailed what one called "a parade of horribles": The layoffs, salary cuts, bigger classes and loss of sports and arts programs over the past three years.  Holly Hermansen is Superintendent of Nevada County Schools, northeast of Sacramento:

"In a small, rural community, salary reduction and layoffs have a huge ripple effect throughout the entire community. The families that lose tier jobs will foreclose on their house.  They'll probably leave the community and then every part of our community suffers from that."

Senate budget chair Mark Leno was clearly affected by the testimony:

"As bad as I knew things were, I'm physically shaken by what I'm hearing."

About 45 minutes away, at a Stockton elementary school, Governor Brown was getting a similar earful from teachers and school officials.  After more than an hour and a half, he reassured them:

" I feel the energy in this room and we're going to get that money one way or the other. Clapping fades."

"That money" is an extension of several tax increases Brown wants voters to approve.  He needs Republican support to put it on the ballot and GOP lawmakers oppose the plan. Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association says Brown's trying to scare people into supporting taxes:

"Voters out there know when they're being threatened and they're being blackmailed and they don't like it."

Brown as well as Democrats and Republicans plan to continue canvassing the state over the next few weeks to talk to voters about the budget mess. 

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