from PTA+Ed Coalition Press and public information releases
October 21 - Members of the state Education Coalaition and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell held a press briefing on Oct. 20 to discuss the impact of current budget cuts on school programs, and to urge legislators and the governor not to make any further reductions in funding. Representatives of school boards, teachers and the California State PTA described how schools are already dealing with the severe cuts that were signed into law as part of the recently adopted state budget. With state revenues already falling below projections in that budget, there is talk of a special session being convened to consider more cuts.
Barbara Ledterman, California State PTA Vice-President for Education, said parents across the state are seeing firsthand how children are suffering because of the state's budget cuts to public schools.
Parents and PTA volunteers across the state are seeing firsthand how our children are suffering because of the state’s budget cuts to public schools. More and more, our parents are being asked to foot the bill for basic services and supplies.
- PTAs were originally established as advocacy groups on behalf of children in local schools and neighborhoods. We speak up for the needs of all children and work for laws and policies that support children and families.
- In a state financial crisis, PTAs should not be converted to small bank accounts asked to backfill cuts to their school’s funding. But that is exactly what has been happening.
- From pencil sharpeners, copy paper, paper clips and LCD bulbs to computers, art programs, librarians and counselors – our public schools are being forced to lean on local parents and PTAs to help fund the basic necessities.
- Parents have always been willing to help out at their schools and to pitch in as best they can – but public education is the top priority of our state constitution – and when parents are asked to help fund basic programs and services, it’s a clear sign we have cut too deeply.
I live in Orange County and I can share with you just a few of the stories and requests made of our local PTAs:
- Elementary school PTAs have been asked to provide additional funding to keep health clerks in their schools each day. School nurses have been gone for years.·
- PTAs have been asked to provide additional funding for school supplies, for library and media support, for K-3 music education, and even counseling programs.
- One elementary school PTA was asked to pay for a maintenance cart for the custodian and ink cartridges for printers.
- One middle school PTA has been asked to fund $5,000 for copier maintenance.
- Other middle schools have been asked to purchase additional computers and to help purchase science textbooks.
- Yet another middle school has been asked to provide basic classroom supplies such as colored paper, pencils and highlighters.These are basic supplies and services and doesn’t even include all of the field trips, student support programs and enrichment programs that PTAs already work so hard to provide, things that will have to be cut back on in order to help with the basics….
- In the coming week, we will be conducting a broad survey of all PTAs to determine in even greater detail the extent that the state’s budget cuts are forcing parents to pick up the bill for basic support.
- PTA continues to be concerned with this situation. Funding to our schools has already been cut too deeply.
Today our children are competing for teacher time in overcrowded classrooms.
Today our children are missing out on comprehensive arts education and physical education programs.
Today they are lacking adequate health and counseling support services.
Today our children need us to invest in the future and produce an adequately funded education system so that they have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.