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Funds for Prisons but Not for Schools

April 30, 2002

I am outraged and incredibly discouraged at the current state budget crisis that victimizes our schools yet continues to somehow find money for other projects, namely the prison system. Two headlines caught my attention on April 26. While "$459 Million in Cuts Are Considered for Fiscally Strapped L.A. Schools," right below it, readers are alerted that there is a "New Lease on Life for San Quentin." How comforting! Public schools across California face cuts left and right. I teach at a community college and I see the blows to our budget firsthand.

Apparently, the cuts to education are necessary because "state funding is not keeping pace . . . with [school] expenses." But somehow, the state will find plenty of money--$199 million, according to the San Quentin article--to "modernize" its death row facility.

Your headlines confirm what we state educators face every day, every fiscal year: cuts and more cuts to our schools, while death row inmates will enjoy a "modernized" facility. I challenge readers to write to Gov. Gray Davis and ask him to make good on his promise. Ask him to do what he was elected to do: make education his priority, and find the money to fund our schools, not our prisons.

Melissa M. M. Hidalgo

Whittier

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