State budget crisis impacting education

FRESNO, Calif.

The meeting included top education officials. Because of California's ongoing budget crisis, the next round of cuts could be the most painful yet.

Under one budget plan, Fresno Unified is looking at cutting a minimum of $27 million but if Governor Jerry Browns proposed tax exemptions are not passed by voters in June... "We are looking at having to make cuts of 71 million."

If extensions pass Visalia Unified will have to cut $500,000 if not it's $8.5 million.

Fresno Unified Board Member Carol Mills says her district has already implemented furlough days, salary pay cuts and they have not filled vacant positions for three years. She says with cuts this deep the classroom is next.

"I don't think there is any possible way to make cuts like that without impacting the employees we have," Mills said.

Fresno city and county leaders discussed the dire situation during a gathering Friday hosted by Assemblyman Henry T. Perea.

He says city officials should be less concerned about making cuts --but rather offering suggestions of how and where to cut programs.

"You're going to have a better chance of a program being saved in some form other than just don't cut me." Perea says he and more than 50 percent of Californians support the governor's 5 year tax extensions.

Fresno City Councilmember Clint Olivier attended Friday's discussion and says the tax extension is a bad idea.

"That's destroying wealth in the hands of private citizens," Olivier said. "When you tax that money it goes from those people to the government who decides what to do with it. I'm very skeptical of that."

Instead he says elected officials should cut waste.

"We have been cutting."

That's something they will have to continue to do.

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