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Thursday, March 04, 2010
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Event Type:
student seante rep. for novato campus of COM
Location Details:
Novato teachers to protest state cuts Thursday
Rob Rogers

Novato teachers plan to hand out flyers during Thursday's statewide "Day of Action," protesting the $2.5 billion in cuts to education proposed in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest budget.

"Our building reps are going to distribute to colleagues a half-page flyer, advising parents who they can contact and what's going on at the state," said Beverly Winsor, office manager for the Novato Federation of Teachers.

While teachers and parents throughout the state are hosting rallies, teach-ins and town hall meetings, Marin educators said they were urging supporters to attend a 5 p.m. rally at San Francisco's Civic Center.

"We'll have no official on-campus activity, but we've informed our members of the rallies and speakers who will be in San Francisco," said Ira Lansing, president of the faculty union at the College of Marin, which has lost $356,000 in state revenue during the past year.

Supporters of the event said they hope it will draw attention to the extent of the state's cuts to education. In the past week, the San Rafael Board of Education - faced with a $1.4 million deficit - approved sending 26 layoff notices to teachers, while the board of the Novato Unified School District, hit with a $2.6 million shortfall, approved 14 layoff notices to teachers and is considering closing one or more of the district's schools.

"This is all about teachers, students and parents fighting and acknowledging the massive impacts of the state cutting $17 billion over the last
Marin Sonoma Deconstruction & Demolition Services
two years," said Mike Myslinski of the California Teachers Association. "The governor wants to cut another $2.5 billion and renege on his agreement to pay the schools back $11 billion. Public schools cannot take any more hits."

Representatives from Schwarzenegger's office did not return calls Monday. Organizers of Thursday's protests say the cuts in Schwarzenegger's January budget proposal will lead to further layoffs, furloughs and fee increases that will damage the state's ability to provide an effective education for its children.

"We're now $2,000 below the national average in per-pupil spending for grades K-12," said Fred Glass, a spokesman for the California Federation of Teachers. "Student fees are skyrocketing in our formerly free higher education system, pricing out working families and destroying the promise of public higher education for California residents."

Several supporters of the protest have called either for new taxes to support education, or changes to the state constitution that would make it easier to pass a tax issue. Sen. Mark Leno said he's pushing a bill that would reauthorize the vehicle license tax Schwarzenegger eliminated in 2003 - but place the funds it generated in the hands of county governments.

"That would be significant amounts of money that county boards could decide for themselves how to appropriate, once voters approved it," said Leno, D-San Francisco, who said he was "concerned" about the governor's proposed cuts. "We are in the process of destroying what was the greatest higher educational system the world had ever seen."

Added to the calendar on Wed, Mar 3, 2010 10:17PM
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