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Calif. Teachers Unions, Parents Fearful Of More Education Cuts

Teachers unions and some parents are worried more cuts for California public schools could be on the way. They’re concerned an upcoming Legislative Analyst Office report on the state budget will show that California is facing another multi-billion dollar cash shortage.

Backpacks hang outside of a San Diego classroom.
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Above: Backpacks hang outside of a San Diego classroom.

California Teachers Association President David Sanchez says schools already have suffered $17-billion in cuts over the past two years. And, he says there’s nowhere else for lawmakers and the governor to slash spending.

“There’s no more meat on this bone to cut and the next step is amputation,” says Sanchez. “I mean, we’ve already lost 16,000 teachers. Losing your job in the field of education used to be unheard of, but that’s where we’re at.”

State lawmakers are debating bills that could help schools avoid at least some of the cuts. The measures would allow California to compete for more than $4 billion in new federal funding for schools by linking teacher’s salaries to the academic performance of students. That’s a priority for some education reformers.

But teachers say it’s unfair and would encourage them to flee underperforming districts for jobs at schools where students test well. Meanwhile, the teachers and parents are asking lawmakers to close tax loopholes for corporations so additional education funding will be available in the future.