Alameda schools protest budget cuts

February 13, 2008 12:20:03 PM PST
The governor's plan to cut $4.5 billion dollars in education funding, to balance the state budget, is prompting a new round of protests. Today, it's superintendents in Alameda County crying out. They met in Oakland at Westlake Middle School to urge the governor to change his mind.

To give one snapshot of the cuts, Westlake Middle School could stand to lose $436,000 dollars. The logo for the school's new campaign says: "Governor, you're breaking our hearts." To drive home the point, students created Valentine's cards, expressing how the feel about the budget cuts.

Educators all over Alameda County came out to let the community know, they are not talking about letting excess programs go, but essential school programs. It's a lesson even the kids seem to understand.

"We spend the majority of our lives in school. That alone should tell you that adults should be putting more money to educate -- not taking it away. I have benefited personally from the after school programs at Westlake, I'm able to take Spanish, last year I took Computers and the year before that I took Creative Arts, also Sports and Theatre. I'm sad to say that because of Governor Schwarzenegger's proposed budget cuts, other students will not be able to experience the same opportunities that I have," said Jabari Valentine, eighth grade student.

As for Governor Schwarzenegger, his assistant Secretary of Education said every department had to be cut in order to not wipe out other programs, such as health care. That the governor made a leadership decision to cut 10 percent across the board of all departments, because he had to deal with a $14.5 billion dollar deficit and he said can't tax the problem because its going to continue to pop up because of what he calls automatic pilot spending -- something that the state mandates he has to do every year.

That is not acceptable to the educators in Alameda County. They are asking for the public's help. The educators say the legislators are not hearing from the public, so they want the public to write and call your state representative. They hope that hearing from the public will put wind at the back of lawmakers.