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.