California Needs to Tackle Education Funding in 2013

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COMMENTARY | My state of California needs to tackle the issue of education funding in 2013.

With the federal budget crisis and threats of spending cuts, and California's own budget issues, funding for schools is fragile. In 22 years of teaching, I feel the cutbacks more than ever. Each year thousands of teachers are pink-slipped or laid off, affecting the quality of student education.

Last year, California Gov. Jerry Brown threatened billions of dollars in "trigger cuts" if Propositions 30 and 39 did not pass on the November ballot. Fortunately they did, and school districts are now being told the trigger cuts will not happen. The passage of Proposition 30 also means that schools should be receiving $1.8 billion in deferred payments. The passage of Proposition 39 should increase by $450 million for funding to schools.

Still, the need to stabilize California's education system is huge. In January 2011, California schools ranked a "C" and placed 30th in the nation, according to a Quality Counts survey. Stabilizing our school systems will ensure they on a secure, proactive foundation, instead of being forced to react to spring and summer staff and program reductions. Students will benefit from increased program offerings and smaller class sizes. Not only will California's student achievement grow through additional education money, by funding our schools, it's California's economy that will grow as we produce qualified workers.

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