May 15 has come and gone, and once again Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed his May revise of the budget (“Budget revise rankles lawmakers,” Political landscape, May 16). The next step is the budget boogie that happens every year in Sacramento.
Beginning in January, with the original budget proposal, sashaying into the May revise, the dance will end only who knows when — August, September or later depending on the will of the governor and the Legislature to compromise. So far the dance step they are favoring is the sidestep.
The governor’s current proposal, even understanding and appreciating the current fiscal crisis in Sacramento, would be disastrous for children and for public schools, and is fundamentally inconsistent with the state’s goal of improving student achievement.
A budget should be a reflection of our community values, but this revised budget proposal does not value the education, health and welfare of our children or the future of California.
As much as $4 billion in cuts to education remain in this most recent proposal, as well as severe cuts to children’s health and other support services that will harm our most vulnerable citizens.
We need our young people to be healthy, safe and in their seats, so our students and schools can achieve the high expectations we have set for them.
This budget does not provide the resources to meet these high expectations.
The May revise may meet the minimum legal requirement for schools — but it still makes drastic cuts to many vital programs that help student achievement, such as class-size reduction, instructional materials and career technical education programs as well as cuts to foster care, juvenile justice, early childhood education and healthcare.
A responsible budget doesn’t make people choose between the health of children and their education — both are essential.
So what is next? The governor has presented his May revise, but I’d like to propose my own May revise. Let our elected representatives know that any budget that hurts our children does not reflect our community values and needs a revise.
I urge our community to continue to write letters to let our governor and legislators know that the proposal to cut categorical programs across the board needs a revise.
My revise focuses on a budget approach that considers both revenues along with cuts as a balanced solution that does not jeopardize our children’s future and, in turn, the long-term health of our state’s economy.
My revise focuses not on this annual roller coaster of funding up one year and down the next, but a sustained level of funding that puts children first.
My revise is not focused on one side of the aisle pointing a finger at the other side of the aisle, but is focused on working together to come up with long-term solutions that work rather than short-term ideas based on risky scenarios that gamble with our children’s future.
This state needs to revise their approach to balancing the budget on the backs of our schools and our children.
Our elected officials need to revise the questions they’re asking, because they seem to be asking the wrong questions. They’re asking, “How much can we cut? How much can we trim? How much more can we expect of our children, and how much less can we give them to meet those expectations?”
My revise has our elected officials asking themselves: How can we make our schools the best in the nation again? In this year of education, what kind of meaningful education reform can we work together to accomplish? What kind of additional resources along with accountability will give us the kind of schools we need for our children to achieve the high goals we have set, to achieve at their highest potential, to compete with their peers in other states, to compete in the global economy?
My revise changes the question from “What kind of budget games can we play?” to “How can we give our children, who represent the future of this state, the educational opportunities they deserve so that they can be part of the workforce that California needs and deserves?”
That is the kind of May revise we need.
PATTY SCRIPTER is a Glendale resident.