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California Briefing / Sacramento

Supt. defends school funding

July 08, 2009|Shane Goldmacher

State Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell said Tuesday that meddling with voter-approved funding guarantees for schools would cause "severe and long-lasting harm to both our students and our schools."

The comments came in response to a proposal by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to suspend the budgeting formula as part of a plan to wipe out California's $26.3-billion deficit. Calling the proposal "short-sighted" and "irresponsible," O'Connell said at a morning news conference that schools were being "made the scapegoat for the budget crisis."

The Democratic leaders of the Legislature have said they oppose suspending the Proposition 98 funding guarantees for K-12 education, the largest spending item in California's budget. The powerful education lobby is gearing up to oppose the suspension as well.

On Monday, members of the California Teachers Assn. delivered 10,000 protest postcards to Schwarzenegger's San Diego office. Rick Pratt, assistant executive director of California School Boards Assn., joined O'Connell at the news conference. He blamed Sacramento officials for passing the state's budget problems to schoolchildren.

-- Shane Goldmacher

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