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April 5, 2005 > Fremont Unified School District Press Release

Fremont Unified School District Press Release

March 24, 2005

The same coalition of educators who supported Gov. Schwarzenegger's efforts to reduce the state budget deficit last year by accepting what he promised to be a one-time reduction in school funding are fighting his budget proposal this year because he broke that promise. Led by Alameda County school superintendents, educators and supporters from across the East Bay area are planning a rally and press conference April 6 at 9 a.m. at the Independent School, 21201 Independent School Road in Castro Valley.

Under the terms of Proposition 98, passed by voters in 1988, education funding is guaranteed a minimum share of sate revenue, In 2004, a coalition of school superintendents, school board members, teachers and support staff agreed to a temporary suspension of the terms of Prop 98 that reduced education funding for the 2004-05 school year statewide by $2 billion. That promised final installment raised the total withheld for schools since 2001 to nearly $10 billion.

The concessions were in exchange for a firm promise that the governor would restore the full state allocation sin 2005-06 and in all future years. Instead, the governor not only shorted the Prop 98 guarantee by another $2 billion this year, he has proposed that districts pick up special education and teacher retirement costs that could amount to an additional billion dollar loss.

Adding insult to injury, the governor has mounted a television ad campaign to convince Californians that he is being generous by only cutting half of the funding schools are due. Although state funding for schools will increase next year, the increase will not cover increases in basic service costs, contractual obligations and student enrollment, much less provide for restoration of any of the earlier cuts.

The current cuts have left California 44th among the states in per-pupil funding for schools. This in a state whose public education system was a generation ago considered among the finest in the world.

For Fremont Unified School District, the difference between honoring Prop 98 and the governor's proposal is $9 million. To underscore the seriousness of their opposition to the proposals, local educators are planning to attend the Castro Valley rally.

Superintendent John Rieckewald will lead the FUSD contingent. He is expected to be joined by members of the FUSD Governing Board, PTA officers and representatives as well as leaders of all of the FUSD employee groups, the Fremont Unified Teacher's Association, the California Sate Employees Association, Service Employees International Union Local 790 and the Fremont School Management Association.

Rieckewald said he hopes that the event will draw attention to the governor's distortion of facts to placate his political allies by reneging on a promise to support the state's children's right to a quality public education. Rieckewald said he also hopes the rally will be only the first of a series of events to maintain pressure on the governor and state lawmakers to restore school funding to its constitutionally guaranteed minimum level.

He encourages anyone who hopes to see California schools offer every California child a realistic chance to succeed to attend the rally and to write their legislators. The strongest possible protest will be requires, he said, to ensure that the proposed budget is replaced with on that is fair to children.

 
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