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CA Schools Funding On Chopping Block, Again

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to slash education funding in the middle of the school year in order to help plug the state's $11 billion budget gap. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to slash education funding in the middle of the school year in order to help plug the state's $11 billion budget gap. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

The Governor wants to cut an additional two billion dollars from California public schools. Education officials say they are shocked and alarmed. They say schools have already absorbed about three billion dollars in cuts during the last budget session.

State Schools Superintendent Jack O'Connell says there is no way schools will be able to operate.

O'Connell: To try to make additional cuts when our schools are already operating right on the margin, with reserves almost entirely depleted, its just going to be a nearly impossible task.

Educators and parents agree, saying taking away money during the middle of the school year would seriously disrupt a child's education.

For his part, the Governor says he has to cut education because it makes up more than 40 percent of the state's budget.

But O'Connell says schools have already absorbed about three billion dollars in cuts during the last budget session. He says that has resulted in teacher layoffs, bigger classes and fewer school buses on the road.

O'Connell: The potential of additional budget cuts is quite real and quite grim. And it would significantly hurt public education. In fact, I would use the word devastating. It would be catastrophic.

San Diego Unified School District is the state's second largest school district. Superintendent Terry Grier did not estimate how much the district stands to lose. But school officials in the Los Angeles Unified School District -- California's largest district -- say the cuts could cost them an additional $440 million. 

If the cuts are severe, Grier has said he would be open to the possibility of closing small schools and consolidating positions.

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.