District heavyweights to Capitol

This year’s day of action organized by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) comes barely 24 hours before the day of reckoning for thousands of teachers.

On Monday, superintendents and principals from across the state will meet with legislators to urge them to set aside political infighting and do what’s right for the state’s children.  The next day, March 15, upwards of 17,000  teachers will receive pink slips informing them that they may lose their jobs.

The big push, of course, will be persuading two Republicans in the state Senate and two in the Assembly to break with their party and support Gov. Brown’s plan to place the tax extension measure on the June ballot. The proposal needs a two-thirds vote in the Legislature, and until yesterday, Brown and Democratic leaders thought they’d have those votes this week.  But by late Thursday, that time line seemed to be unraveling.   “The word on the street is ‘No,’ ” said Julie White, ACSA’s assistant executive director, referring to a vote before week’s end.

Talks are ongoing between Brown and five GOP lawmakers who refused to sign a Republican pledge never to raise taxes, but also haven’t committed to supporting the 12 billion dollar tax extension.  The funds are critical to the Brown’s pledge to spare schools from any additional cuts.  Although lawmakers have been told to remain in Sacramento for the weekend in case a deal is reached, White seemed certain nothing would happen before next week.

John Snavely, superintendent of Porterville Unified School District in Tulare County, plans to be at the Capitol on Monday.  He says there is more urgency than ever before due to the sheer magnitude of potential cuts coming on top of $18 billion in cuts over the past three years.

“Accountability has never been higher, yet the financial support for meeting the ever increasing diverse needs of today’s students decreases,” said Snavely.  “Public education is one of the state’s primary responsibilities.  It is my goal to urge our lawmakers to recognize that obligation and protect our children.”

Author: Kathryn Baron

Kathryn Baron, co-writer of TOP-Ed (Thoughts On Public Education in California), has been covering education in California for about 15 years; most of that time at KQED Public Radio where her reports aired on The California Report as well as various National Public Radio programs. She also wrote for magazines and newspapers before going virtual as producer and editor at The George Lucas Educational Foundation. Kathy grew up in New York in a family of teachers. She moved to California for graduate school and after spending one sunny New Year’s Day riding her bicycle in the foothills, decided to stay. She and her husband live in Belmont. They have two children, one in college and one in high school.

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