CA Budget: Education Cuts Expected

It's becoming increasingly apparent that schools are going to take the biggest hit from the budget fix and that could lead to big changes in how classrooms operate in the fall.

In the worst of budget years, California's public schools, the largest single consumer of tax dollars, are in the bulls eye.

"In the short term, the schools still take the biggest hit than any other part of government in the State of California," said Education Consultant Kevin Gordan. He said the current deal could slash schools another $3-billion on top of the $8-billion that was cut last February.

"There's no doubt about it. Parents sending their kids to school this fall are gonna notice the biggest difference in the lack of that money than at any time ever before," said Gordan. That means larger class sizes and fewer programs like athletics or music.

The plan restores at some future point roughly $9-billion dollars in past school reductions.

"There's no question education has taken a hit like anything else. But it's our obligation to say when times get better we'll do our very best to restore funding for our kids," said State Senator Darrell Steinberg (D).

Some of the sting of the cuts will be reduced short term by federal economic stimulus dollars.

With more than half a billion dollars in IOU's already issued this month and the state's credit rating slumping to near junk bond status, lawmakers are now preparing to finalize a no tax big cut plan that faces a vote within days.

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