Skip to comments.CA: State education board stripped of funding over textbook decision
Posted on 07/12/2006 7:13:26 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
Caught in a political dustup over English-learning students and their own philosophical divide, members of the state Board of Education decided Wednesday to put their trust in the state's top political leaders to restore funding after the body was stripped of its entire operating budget.
The loss of the board's $1.6 million annual staff budget came as political retaliation for its split vote in April not to allow alternative textbooks for English-learner students. The board rejected pleas from bilingual education advocates to allow schools to use different textbooks for students learning English.
That vote angered the Democratic Latino Caucus, many of whose members supported the textbook proposal. In response, Democrats in the Assembly and Senate education subcommittees stripped the board's funding from the state budget for the new fiscal year, which began July 1.
But the board's members expected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to work out a deal to restore the money before he signed the budget on June 30. Instead, the governor signed the first on-time state budget in six years without dealing with the missing money.
Later that day, board president Glee Johnson resigned in frustration.
"It's a sad state of affairs. We on the state board are being punished for a vote that the governor supports," board member Ruth Green said Wednesday as members debated what to do next. "It's really symptomatic of the lack of support for this board and the reason that Glee Johnson resigned."
For now, the board's civil service staff members are being paid by the state Department of Education, while others are on the governor's payroll.
The state Board of Education is constitutionally mandated. Its members are nominated by the governor but require Senate approval. The board plays a central role in deciding state education policy and is responsible for accepting billions of dollars in federal education money for some of the state's neediest students.
Sabrina Lockhart, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Schwarzenegger supports the board's work and is trying to work out a deal to restore its funding. She declined to elaborate on why the money wasn't secured before the budget was signed.
"We're working with the Legislature and the Department of Education, including Superintendent (Jack) O'Connell, to come up with a timely solution to restore funding so that the board can continue to do its important work," she said. "The governor stands by the board. He supports them fully."
Schwarzenegger's education secretary, Alan Bersin, who also is a member of the board, urged members Wednesday to wait for the compromise. He said he met with Schwarzenegger Tuesday.
"He is disappointed in the action of the Legislature, and he does not believe that policy differences ought to give rise to these kinds of constitutional actions," Bersin said.
But some members still worried the political ploy could set a dangerous precedent.
"For the Legislature to be able to check a box next to our board and delete a budget of policy leaders seems to be childish at most," member Ruth Bloom said.
Sen. Martha Escutia, D-Whittier, who initially led the movement to strip the board's funding, has a bill pending that would restore the money. But it would require approval of the controversial bilingual textbooks that sparked the initial feud.
The board voted Wednesday to oppose Escutia's bill, SB1679. Escutia did not return a call Wednesday seeking comment.
The board has been divided in recent months over issues such as bilingual education, the state's academic standards and other school reforms, leading to sometimes heated debate.
Also Wednesday, members selected Kenneth Noonan as the board's new president and Bloom as its vice president.
Response: There is not even the strength left to resist the alien takeover. An example of the meaning of the terms 'a degenerate people.'
Arnold refuses to allocate money for bilingual texbooks.
That's what happens when you put idiots in charge of government.
Sounds like Alice in Wonderland.
I guess you have to make cuts somewhere not to grow the budget more than the $18 billion (16%) increase over last year's budget. (/sarcasm)
Seriously, though, maybe this is a good way to start cutting the power of the CA education bloc, even though it is impossible to return education administration to local control. It sounds like the board did not want a second-class set of textbooks for the English learners, yet Democrat legislators want to ensure English "learners" remain sub par. If more Californians know this, perhaps there will be a backlash against the Democrats. Or, at least, maybe the Democrats will waste time arguing amongst themselves.
The Department of Education is full of libs and openly hostile to our President and the Governor. Millions of taxpayers dollars go to "English language learners." They have the unions behind them and they are powerful.
This stunt is force the return of bilingual text books not get rid of them.
That first pic on your homepage is positively gut wrenching.
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