Prop 1A: Dividing Educators
Over the weekend, the California Democratic Party failed to endorse proposition 1A….and instead stayed neutral. The party’s stance highlights how this election is creating divisions among groups that usually hang together.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Back in 2005, the California Teachers’ Association was instrumental in defeating Governor Schwarzenegger’s special election measures. That included a limit on state spending similar to prop. 1A on May’s ballot. Fast-forward to today: A new special election and a new alliance. Here’s current CTA President David Sanchez:
“It makes for strange bedfellows but here we are.”
Sanchez says this time the union is with the Governor. Here’s one reason they support prop. 1A: It creates a so-called rainy day fund by socking money away in good times. Another measure on the ballot – prop. 1B - is tied to that fund. If both measures pass, K-12 and community colleges would get 9 billion dollars. Sanchez says if the measures fail, it means more cuts to schools and more pain for teachers:
“If we have 27-28-thousand that were pink slipped this past March 13th and then they go back a cuts-only approach and eliminate class-size reduction statewide, we could possibly see an additional 25-thousand teachers lose their jobs.”
That’s a dangerous short-term view, says Lillian Taiz. She’s President of the California Faculty Association – which represents CSU faculty.
“At this point we’ve been dug into a deep hole and now the Governor proposes dropping a huge 50-ton manhole cover on top of our heads.”
Taiz points out that 1A also restrains state spending – and she says that’s bad for higher education, which unlike K-12, is not protected under the constitution:
“All we can do is hope that in good times when the economy is restored that there will be some way to dig us out of the hole that we’re in so that we can meet the needs of the state.”
Other education groups opposing 1A say that 9 billion dollars rightfully belongs to schools anyway – and they say they’d rather go to court to get it.