Friday, April 22, 2005

LA Times - education

George Skelton has a column in the LA Times with the encouraging title of The Governor Owes Schools an Apology -- and $2 Billion.

The article focuses on the proposition 98 debate, and is a good summary of the issues that are at least partially behind the severe budget problems at many campuses statewide. It also includes more detail about last year's (now broken) promise to fully fund proposition 98:
"Schwarzenegger was desperate for money, and school officials wanted to cozy up to the charismatic, larger-than-life new governor. Also, they feared a worse result if there was no cooperation. So they agreed not to fight for the $2 billion on the condition that it be returned -- that is, returned to their guaranteed annual funding base. It hasn't been.

"The governor assured schools that if tax revenues increased this year, he'd give them their normal cut under Proposition 98. Revenues did, but he didn't.

The final paragraph of the statement Schwarzenegger released at the deal's announcement read: 'This Prop. 98 funding will be restored as required by law and our agreement. Today, I am making that promise to our teachers and students.'

"Schwarzenegger didn't just renege on the deal. He's pushing a budget 'reform' to amend Proposition 98 so that repayment of back money owed schools -- roughly $4 billion -- is stretched out over 15 years and not added to the guaranteed base.

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