overall education spending to $61.5 billion -- including a one-time
windfall of $252 million for programs such as class-size reduction in
the state's worst-performing schools, recognition pay and physical
fitness testing and vocational programs.
It proposes using $230 million to reduce class sizes in the
state's worst-performing schools and $57 million as incentives for
teachers at underachieving schools and for those who improve their
"That doesn't help us a bit," said La Canada Unified School
District Supt. Sue Leabo. "Schools that are successful need
additional support, too."
In spite of the extra cash, local educators say the money the
governor is proposing is not going where it needs to go.
"To talk about expanding class-size reduction is ridiculous when
the state is not even paying us for the class-size reduction we
already have," Burbank School Board President Paul Krekorian said.
"[The governor] has thrown in some window-dressing items that appear
to distract attention from the fact that he is breaking his promise
to repay the $2 billion that the state owes schools and to distract
the attention that California schools are woefully underfunded."
The state owes schools $2 billion in Proposition 98 funds that
were borrowed last year to help the state balance its budget.
"Our budget invests more in education than California has ever
invested before. It is a budget strongly on the side of students,
parents and classroom teachers," Schwarzenegger told reporters
But the lament over the revise continued in Glendale.
"That'll go a long way," Glendale Unified School District board
President Mary Boger said. "We had an incentive program in the past
for schools -- it was funded for a year or two. Given the governor's
track record on promising money to education, I don't find this
particularly impressive. Who knows how long it will last?"
Parents and educators were critical of the governor's initiatives
for reducing class size and giving teachers incentives.
"The governor continues to use smoke and mirrors to try and
distract people from the bottom line, which is that we need to
adequately fund education in this state," Boger said. "Small
hit-and-miss programs don't do it. We need to, across the board, fund
all children's education adequately."
The governor's May revision was good news, however, for officials
at Glendale Community College. The new budget gives $40 million to
higher education, which translates into $800,000 for the college,
controller Ron Nakasone said. The governor also restored funds for
the Partnership for Excellence, a program that improves transfer
rates, student retention and vocational programs. That will bring
$421,000 to the college, he said.
"We had a feeling it would be approved," Nakasone said of the
Partnership for Excellence funds. "This is a positive budget for us."
* DARLEENE BARRIENTOS
covers education. She may
be reached at (818) 637-3215
or by e-mail at darleene.barrientoslatimes.com.