Teachers try to save jobs

March 13, 2008 4:00:44 PM PDT
The governor wanting to slash $5 billion dollars from education, to close a $16 billion dollar deficit. The California Teachers Association says at least 5,000 teachers across the state, have been given layoff notices and the number is growing. On Saturday, the teachers began mobilizing in Santa Clara.

California Teachers Association president David Sanchez took office last summer. He had no idea that he would soon be guiding the teachers union through a massive budget crisis.

"People are in state of shock!" said Sanchez. He also said the governor's proposed $4.8 billion dollar education cuts are the worst in state history.

However, teachers are perhaps even more worried about the suspension of Prop 98 that would accompany the cuts. Prop 98 provides minimum spending for schools. In 2005 teachers successfully fought off another attempt to suspend Prop 98, and are ready to do it again.

"Suspension of 98 is not an option. It's not an option!" said Sanchez.

"This is extremely drastic and we're all concerned especially in the Bay Area about the effects on our schools," said Janice Allen. Allen is a former second-grade teacher and is now president of the San Jose Teachers Association.

"California is already 46th in the nation for school funding per student funding, which is almost $2,000 per student below the national average. To me that's deplorable," said Allen.

The proposed cut has already led to 5,000 teacher layoff notices. They have to be notified by March 15, 2008, although the final budget won't be signed until much later.

"We're kind of waiting with our fingers crossed for the May revise, to see if things are going to change," said Allen.

The CTA thinks the state should not solve the budget deficit through cuts of any kind, but by somehow increasing revenue, like for instance increasing the vehicle licensing fee again.

"The students didn't create this deficit and their education shouldn't be ransomed to solve it," said said Sanchez.