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Teachers hold town hall about cuts

August 7, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
With California's massive budget cuts to education, many districts are struggling to be ready for the coming school year. There is also an effort to change the state law, so schools can be better protected.More than 17,000 teachers and other school employees have been laid off this year because of the budget cuts. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent vetoes brought cuts in school budgets to $18 billion.

On Friday morning, the Los Angeles Unified School District still didn't know how much the latest vetoes would cost the district.

"It's amazing. We're going to take a big hit. And, it's sad. To this day, many districts including L.A. Unified are not really ready to start the school year because they're not sure where the cuts are going to be made," said David Sanchez, President, California Teachers Association.

At UCLA members of the 350,000 member California Teachers Association held a town hall to talk about the upcoming hardships. The CTA is joining the effort to repeal the two-thirds vote requirement for budget votes in the legislature. That would mean a minority could end up controlling the budget process in California.

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass took time from her vacation to talk to the CTA. She's endorsing a change in the state law.

"The most important change we need to make in the state of California is for California to be like 47 other states and be able to pass our budget without having to have a two-thirds majority," said Bass. "That's why we're not able to raise revenue and are often left with just being able to make cuts."

At the town hall, teachers vented their frustrations.

"No matter how low-budget a school is, if they have enough money to support it, a child is a child. And it might be one of your children," said Vickey Johnson, California Teachers Association.

Education has taken a big hit in the budget. But as long as there have been budgets, there have been constant complaints about the two-thirds vote. Perhaps this time, it will change.

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