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Lesson Plans


budget cuts in CA

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MSlavkin
Wed, 5 Feb 1997 00:15:49 -0500 (EST)

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I am writing in response to Ellyn Wenk's question about budget and program
cuts in California. The defining moment came in 1978 when the voters
approved Proposition 13, an initiative that rolled back property taxes to no
more than 1% of assessed value. This was in response to a short-term surplus
in the state budget under Gov. Jerry Brown. The result has been an
over-dependence upon the limited state general fund to pay for schools and
all other services. When this is combined with ever-growing enrollments, CA
has fallen to 38th among the 50 states in per pupil funding.

CA standards have not been dramatically changed. If anything, standards on
paper are being increased, with a greater focus on so-called academic subject
areas needed for graduation and college admission. As local districts have
faced inadequate state income, program cuts have been made in a variety of
areas, with most damage to art teachers, music teachers, and all support
services (nurses, psychologists, etc). We are only now starting to rebuild,
thanks to some short-term growth in state revenues due to a better economy.

Magnet schools stem from various court cases regarding efforts to reduce
racial isolation and promote more integrated schools. They are not connected
to the overall budget picture per se, other than the fact that magnets also
have limited budgets in the current environment.

Mark Slavkin
Member, Los Angeles Board of Education


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