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CA: Budget boost falls short, say some Inland educators (Gub wants 6 percent raise to $61.5 billion)
Press-Enterprise ^ | 6/30/05 | Melissa Eiselein

Posted on 06/30/2005 9:38:39 AM PDT by NormsRevenge

PERRIS - Gov. Schwarzenegger hopes to increase the state education budget by 6 percent to $61.5 billion, the largest amount given to schools at any time in history, his staff said Wednesday during a visit to the Inland area.

But some local educators say it won't be enough -- even if the Republican governor's budget is passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature.

Schwarzenegger's representative, Scott Himelstein, met with an invited group of educators, school administrators and community leaders at Val Verde Union School District office in Perris to discuss the education budget. Himelstein will become deputy secretary of education and chief of staff on Friday, the beginning of the state's fiscal year.

The governor's May proposal includes $175.4 million to expand the class-size reduction program for schools in the bottom third socio-economic level, $57 million for students who are at risk of failing the high school exit exam, and an additional $40 million toward equalizing the share of money received by community colleges, according to the governor's office.

Community colleges in urban areas receive about $4,000 per student while colleges in traditionally rural areas receive far less, said Scott Lay, vice president of the Community College League of California.

Riverside Community College District receives about $3,500 per student, he said.

"It's fair to say that Riverside is among the lowest-funded," Lay said.

The equalization of college funding caught the attention of Richard Giese, president of Mt. San Jacinto Community College District. Mount San Jacinto receives about $3,700 per student, Giese said.

"This is the best proposed budget I've seen since I've been in this business," Giese said.

Riverside Community College District President Salvatore Rotella, whose district ranks toward the bottom in pupil funding, had doubts. He said community college budgets are uncertain every year, because they must compete with cash-strapped elementary and secondary districts for funding.

"We've learned to cope with the short term...but what about the future?" Rotella said. "The future is very bleak."

Val Verde Superintendent Fred Workman also had reservations. He said school districts should have more control over how to spend state money based on each district's individual needs. Class-size reduction isn't feasible in the Val Verde district that serves students in portions of Moreno Valley and Perris. The area's growth already has the district scrambling to provide classrooms, he said.

"I'm telling you, we need flexibility," Workman said. "We would applaud any flexibility that would come down."

Bill Hedrick, president of the Rialto Unified School District teachers union and trustee on the Corona-Norco Unified School Board, wasn't among the 21 people attending the invitation-only meeting. He said he was unhappy with the governor's proposed budget.

California ranks 44th out of 50 states in education funding and receives less per-student funding than Texas, Arkansas and Alabama, Hedrick said.

"The funding is not adequate for what we need to do," Hedrick said. "What we have is world-class standards and we're expected to achieve them on third-world budget. His proposal only looks good to his alternative, which is no budget."

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Government; Politics/Elections; US: California
KEYWORDS: arniethebigspender; boost; budget; calbudget; california; educators; falls; himelstein; inland; schwarzenegger; short

1 posted on 06/30/2005 9:38:39 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge

Do you have any hopes of recovering conservatism in California?

2 posted on 06/30/2005 9:41:19 AM PDT by johniegrad
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To: NormsRevenge

Too bad illegals don't get included and called out in these figures. This is just another example of insanity in Gubamint in action. or a damn dumb trial ballooon.

Too bad we don;t have a fiscal conservative as Gubinor, unfortunately.

3 posted on 06/30/2005 9:42:27 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... "To remain silent when they should protest makes cowards of men." -- THOMAS JEFFERSON)
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