Thursday, April 16, 2009

THE TWO MAJOR CALIFORNIA TEACHERS UNIONS AGREE THAT THE STATE OWES EDUCATION BILLION$, CTA Goes to the Ballot Box, CFT to the Courts

Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Posted by Kevin Yamamura, SACBEE

April 16 - The California Teachers Association has pumped $5 million so far into a campaign to pass Propositions 1A and 1B, with the carrot of $9.3 billion in total additional education revenues starting in 2011-12 under 1B.

But the California Federation of Teachers believes there's a different way to get that money: litigation.

"We agree with CTA that the money that was suspended -- in my words, illegally from the governor -- is due to the K-14 public education system," said CFT Executive-Treasurer Dennis Smith. "We believe that money can be recovered through our courts. ... It's a risk we're willing to take."

The education community believes it is owed $9.3 billion under its interpretation of Proposition 98 after revenues dropped significantly this winter. But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature disagreed.

The fight was settled when lawmakers crafted Proposition 1B to commit $9.3 billion to schools while tying it into Proposition 1A, a maneuver that would seemingly avoid litigation while creating political incentive for school groups to support Proposition 1A.

CTA has calculated that it is better to go to the ballot to get that $9.3 billion than let the courts decide, but CFT doesn't see it that way.

CFT, which represents a much smaller share of teachers than the California Teachers Association, is opposed to Proposition 1A but supports Proposition 1B. CTA, on the other hand, is running television ads promoting Propositions 1A and 1B as a package that voters need to approve together.

CFT's position may make sense philosophically, but not logically: Proposition 1B depends upon Proposition 1A's passage to take effect. Smith's position Thursday seemed to be that defeating Proposition 1A is more important than risking $9.3 billion in the court system.

YouTube: CTA’s YES ON 1A & 1B COMMERCIAL

4LAKIDS unenthusiastically recommends  YES votes on 1A, 1B & 1C. We don’t like any of them, but they are the best we are going to get in this economy with politics-as-unusual in Sacramento.  

1D  and 1E hold early childhood education and mental health programs temporary hostage for education, if you can accept that – vote YES.  

1E is a no brainer. 

Familiarize yourself with the measures and vote like the future depends on it. Not the whole future, just  couple of years until the 2/3’s rule can be undone and the actor goes back to Hollywood.  – these half-baked/heartless compromises are about as far from real reform as it can get.

Constitutional Convention anyone?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

LABOR ORGANIZES AGAINST BUDGET MEASURE 1-A + Strange 1A fellows move their beds closer together

By Kevin Yamamura | Sacramento Bee


Monday, Apr. 13, 2009 - A powerful California public employee union formed a campaign committee Monday with two other labor groups to oppose Proposition 1A, a May 19 ballot measure that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders have said will solve future budget problems.

Service Employees International Union's California State Council, which says it represents 700,000 workers, has teamed up with the California Faculty Association and the California Federation of Teachers to form a committee opposing Proposition 1A. The ballot measure would limit state spending in good fiscal years, diverting money to a "rainy-day fund." But it also would extend $16 billion worth of temporary tax increases on sales, income and vehicles to 2013.

"Prop 1A won't be able to do what its supporters claim," said Marty Hittleman, president of the California Federation of Teachers, in a statement. "This constitutional amendment, supported by the governor and legislators was developed with no public scrutiny and won't stop the budget chaos. Once voters read this proposal with their own eyes, they will see that it is flawed and overly complicated, and will give extraordinary new and unrestricted power to the governor and his political appointees, with no checks and balances."

State leaders included the temporary tax hike extensions in Proposition 1A in part to discourage groups like SEIU from fighting the measure at the ballot. By restraining public spending, the measure could limit the expansion of the public-sector jobs that the labor unions forming the committee represent.

The unions, in their Monday announcement, twice mentioned the $16 billion in tax hikes, which are considered to be the measure's greatest vulnerability among voters. Such labor groups find themselves unusual allies with anti-tax groups who typically fight union causes.

"This is disappointing since those who we hurt the most should Propositions 1A thru 1F not pass will be teachers, schools and the hard-working families of SEIU," said Julie Soderlund, spokeswoman for Budget Reform Now, proponents of the six budget-related ballot measures. "During these tough economic times, it is unfair to do anything that will likely cost many people their jobs."

It remains unclear how much SEIU plans to spend on the opposition effort, which will be a better indicator of whether they will succeed in defeating the ballot proposal. Proponents, including Schwarzenegger and the California Teachers Association, are raising millions of dollars in an effort to pass Proposition 1A and five other budget-related measures on the special election ballot.

Proposition 1A is tied to Proposition 1B, a separate proposal that requires the state to give schools additional total payments of $9.3 billion starting in 2011-12.

The California Federation of Teachers is a smaller union than CTA and represents 120,000 education employees. CFT supports Proposition 1B, despite the fact that it will fail unless Proposition 1A passes.

Schwarzenegger, during a press conference in Fresno to promote a health-care job training program, said he pays no attention to the opposition and believes "momentum is going our way."

 

April 13, 2009

Strange 1A fellows move their beds closer together

It's still not clear that the unions will spend money against Prop. 1A, despite Kevin Yamamura's report here that the SEIU, the California Federation of Teachers and the California Faculty Assn. have formed an opposition committee. But it would indeed be a perfect California marriage if the state's biggest public employee union and its anti-tax groups got together to kill this measure. The unions want to increase spending. The anti-tax groups want to reduce taxes. You can't do both, so one of them has to be wrong about the likely outcome of the political and fiscal crisis that defeating 1A would bring about. My hunch is that the union folks are gambling that they can win two-thirds majorities in the Legislature and seat a Democratic governor in 2010, then make the tax hikes permanent without having to worry about a spending limit. The anti-tax folks? The best they can hope for in the Legislature is continued stalemate, which probably means more borrowing and gimmicks. Or, on the ballot, a tougher spending limit not linked to taxes. The voters love that idea at first glance. But will they support it after the unions get down trashing it?

Posted by Daniel Weintraub | Weintraub is a member of the SacBee Editorial Board

Friday, April 10, 2009

THE OFFICIAL MAY 19th BALLOT RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE CALIFORNIA STATE PTA

 

  • Measure 1A -- Support. This measure creates a rainy day fund, temporarily extends tax increases, and provides a funding mechanism for Proposition 1B, which will repay $9 billion to schools.
  • Measure 1B -- Support. This measure repays schools approximately $9 billion in Proposition 98 funding, beginning in 2011-12.
  • Measure 1C -- Support. This measure generates $5 billion in revenues this year by securitizing and updating the state lottery; school funding would no longer be tied to lottery revenues, with no net change to overall school funding.
  • Measure ID -- Oppose. This measure transfers monies away from First 5 programs created by Proposition 10 (1998) for a period of five years, with the intent that the funds be used to protect health and human service programs for children supported by the state's General Fund. The measure makes other programmatic changes to how First 5 funds may be spent.
  • Measure IE -- Support. This measure transfers monies away from mental health programs funded by Proposition 63 (2004) for a period of two years. The monies would go into the state General Fund to support mental health services.
  • Measure 1F -- No position. This measure prohibits legislators and the Governor from receiving pay raises when the state budget is running a deficit.

VILLARAIGOSA ENDORSES MAY19th BALLOT MEASURES

Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government
April 10, 2009

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at an event today to throw his support behind the package of measures on the May 19 special election ballot.

Villaraigosa, a Democrat and potential candidate for governor in 2010, said the package would help "to bring stability back to California's budget system," in a prepared statement. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has previously endorsed the ballot package.

Other endorsers today: Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

GUARANTEED TO RAISE A SMILE, THE BAND YOU’VE KNOWN FOR ALL THESE YEARS . . .

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GOVERNOR PUSHES LEGISLATURE FOR EXPEDITED RELEASE OF $1.2 BILLION IN RECOVERY ACT EDUCATION FUNDS

Governor's office press release

 

The Governor’s California Recovery Task Force today asked the legislature for expedited budget authority to quickly pass $1.2 billion in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding on to schools.

“I am committed to spending Recovery Act dollars efficiently and effectively, and to passing these dollars onto schools as quickly as possible to benefit students and protect jobs,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.

Approximately $1.2 billion in education funding for elementary and secondary schools with large populations of disadvantaged students (Title I schools), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs and improving facilities in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) was made available by the federal government on April 1.

It is required that the Budget Act be amended before these funds can be passed on, through the California Department of Education, to school districts. The Department of Finance, on behalf of the Task Force, has asked the Joint Legislative Budget Committee to quickly allow for those Budget Act adjustments.

The breakdown of the available funding is as follows:

  • $562.5 million in federal Title I Elementary and Secondary Education Act funds
  • $634 million in federal IDEA funds ($20.5 million dedicated to preschools)
  • $12.9 million in NSLP federal equipment assistance funds

The Governor’s Task Force in partnership with the Office of the Secretary of Education will continue to track Recovery Act funds to ensure we capture as much money as possible for education and the state of California.

Governor Schwarzenegger created the California Recovery Task Force to track the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding coming into the state; work with President Barack Obama’s administration; help cities, counties, non-profits and others access the available funding; ensure that the funding funneled through the state is spent efficiently and effectively; and maintain a Web site that is frequently and thoroughly updated for Californians to be able to track the stimulus dollars.

The Task Force can be reached through its Web site, www.recovery.ca.gov, or by telephone at (916) 322-4688.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

TEACHERS UNION ADDS $2.2 MILLION MORE TO BALLOT WAR CHEST

Capitol Alert

Sac Bee | The latest on California politics and government

April 9, 2009

 

The California Teachers Association has deposited another $2.2 million into the campaign to pass Propositions 1A and 1B, bringing the group's total spending to nearly $5 million.

The union also donated $350,000 to the umbrella campaign for all six measures on the May 19 special election ballot.

Proposition 1B would ensure repayment to schools of $9.3 billion starting in 2011. But it only goes into effect if Proposition 1A also passes. Hence the dual campaign.

 

Posted by Shane Goldmacher

THE BUZZ: Foes of Props. 1D and 1E on the May 19 ballot are joining forces to thwart the two measures.

sacbee.com

This story is taken from Sacbee / Capitol and California / State Politics

Published Thursday, Apr. 09, 2009

  • Prop. 1D would divert tobacco tax money from early childhood programs to the state's general fund.
  • Prop. 1E would siphon revenues from a surcharge on wealthy taxpayers used for mental health programs and put it in the general fund.

"Campaigning together makes perfect sense," said No on 1E's Rusty Selix. Make that "perfect cents." Combining efforts can cut costs and make more efficient use of campaign contributions.

Monday, April 6, 2009

MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM AND SUPERINTENDENT CARLOS GARCIA OFFICIALLY RESCIND TEACHER LAYOFFS

California Political Desk

April 03, 2009 — SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Today Mayor Newsom and Superintendent Carlos Garcia officially rescinded the majority of teacher layoffs set to take place this month by allocating over $23 million from the city´s Rainy Day Fund.

"Our commitment to education, demonstrated by the release of these rainy day funds, ensures that our teachers can spend their spring break relaxing instead of looking for new jobs," said Mayor Newsom. "We know that the school district, city, state and federal governments are all facing shortfalls. But San Franciscans can take pride in the fact that their city prioritizes education and once again, has stepped up to help."

Nearly all permanent teachers who received layoff notices on March 15 will have their notices rescinded and will have their jobs for the 2009-2010 school year. This represents 405 people who will be getting rescission letters over the next few days.

Almost all administrators who received ´may not renew´ or layoff notices will also be getting rescission letters within the week. Final determinations of the exact number of administrators whose notices will be rescinded are still being made, though it is likely to be almost all of the 144 positions who were noticed in March.

The Rainy Day Fund was created in 2003, when voters passed Proposition G. It requires the city to save revenue above 5% growth year over year, during good economic times. The school district is eligible for up to 25 percent of the total if two conditions are met: The school district must be getting less money per pupil from the state when adjusted for inflation, and must be facing significant teacher layoffs. Last year, the City provided the San Francisco Unified School District with $19.2 million in rainy day funding.