California Schools Likely to Suffer from Budget Cuts

May 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The overwhelming defeat of the special election package means California will have to cut about 20 percent of its general fund spending to balance the budget through mid-2010. This is a signal by the voters that they are tired of the same old thing, indecision decision-making in Sacramento.

Willie Pelote of the labor-backed No on 1A coalition said California voters sent a clear message, that the governor and legislature need to fix the budget on their own. But he also said, the measures themselves were flawed, especially the one that called for spending caps. "You don't take out... When you already made $39-billion dollars in cuts and very important services that taxpayers have paid for and then cap those services."

Now that the budget-related ballot measures have failed, means there will be an even bigger hole in California's budget mess, $6 billion dollars bigger, bringing the state's total shortfall to $21 billion dollars. Education is expected to take the biggest hit.

Tens of thousands of teachers could get laid off. Julie Soderland is the spokesperson for budget reform now, the coalition that was pushing for the budget propositions to pass. "In addition to that it has serious consequences for things that people don't think about which is construction projects for example on infrastructure, roads, schools" said Julie Soderland with Budget Reform Now.

Exactly what programs and services will be cut and by how much is something that will be the subject of intense negotiations in the coming weeks. And all sides are holding out hope, that the election results will spark a new level of dialogue.

"Because this is a crisis that supersedes all partisan lines, supersedes all public interest lines frankly, it is so big," said Soderland.

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