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March 4, 2010

Day of Action for students and teachers to protest statewide school budget cuts

The Mt. Diablo Education Association is organizating several demonstrations of students, teachers, and staff today  to protest $17 billion in state budget cuts to schools and colleges over the past two years.

These Mt. Diablo Unified efforts are part of March 4 Statewide Day of Action involving demonstrations around the state, including on college campuses such as UC Berkeley. A march and rally will take place in front of San Francisco' City Hall this evening.


These demonstrations are expected to be underway in various places around the state, starting soon.  In the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, students, staff and teachers at Clayton Valley High School were scheduled to begin their demonstration outside the school at 7 a.m. After-school demonstrations will take place at the following locations, according to the Mt. Diablo Education Association blog: Ygnacio Valley Rd and Oak Grove; Treat and Clayton Rd; and Monument and Contra Costa Boulevard.
 
Organizers note that "entire art,  music and PE programs have been eliminated, more than 16,000 educators were laid off, and large California corporations enjoyed tax breaks."

"This year, in the wake of all these cuts, our students and schools are being threatened again. We can’t let that happen."

Just this week, the Mt. Diablo school board is contemplating making $6 million in cuts every year to its $71-million-a-year special education program. Those cuts could mean that the district would eliminate the positions of 37 special education teachers and 65 special education assistants, according to the Mayor of Claycord. It could also mean that teachers in  classrooms would need to be trained to accommodate special education students in their non-special education classrooms.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is tragic for the MT Unified district, with more special needs students in school districts CA should consider asking parents of SN to pay, it could be on a scale based on income. The budget for Special Needs is enormous in all school districts and with more parents instining their students attend public schools they should be accountable to pay. As a parent of SN we make large donations to the program, i feel everyone should have the same responsibilty specially those that can!

Up3rd (and occasionally Chris Hendricks) said...

If you'd like the 'Day of Action' to be meaningful, use it to convince Californians that we aren't taxed sufficiently to pay for all of the 'worthy' expenditures we've been making and that our only way out of the cycle is to [sadly] say 'no' to some of those choices and to [sadly] restructure our tax basis to adequately fund those that remain.

Anonymous said...

71 million a year for special education program is completely Outrageous. 08-09 budget for Non special needs was $154million for Special needs was $78 million. Out of the 35,000 students in the district how many are special needs? There is a huge disparity in this spending. I completely agree parents of special needs students need to pay their share. This is not right on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

This is a problem everywhere in our elementary school in Orinda my son's class has 3 special need students that means we are paying for 3 special education assistants salaries, benefits and pension plans. This is not acceptable. The parents should be made to pay, if they can take fancy vacations they can certainly pay the cost associated with educating their children in a public school!

Anonymous said...

We lump kids with speech problems, dyslexia, and high-functioning autistics into the same special ed pot as emotionally disturbed and profoundly mentally disabled.

Offering help to the first 3 groups is an excellent investment as these kids grow into productive citizens when helped. But we really lost it when we decided that schools had an obligation to treat mental illness. We don't treat physical illness. Kids who are physically sick are removed from school until they're better; both to help them focus on healing and to protect the other students. We should treat mentally and emotionally disturbed children the same way.

Beau Hunk said...

Interesting...

A huge number of liberal teachers are protesting cuts to the education budget when they are the same people who elected the tax-and-spend liberal legislators who got us into this mess.

Folks, you need to realize that when you vote, it means something.

You may feel good and wholesome when you vote for liberals, but you feel terrible when their spending policies reduce your salary or kick you out of a job.

Anonymous said...

Beau, Do you think that this is going to be solved by pasting the evil "L" word over any and every problem that exists? Lame.

Wouldn't a more honest assessment be that our problems are the almost inevitable result of Prop 13, an unworkably large state, out of control costs, global/national/state financial collapse, and illegal immigration? When you look at the problems honestly, you'll see that no one ideology is to blame. We're all responsible. Voting straight conservative would neither prevent nor cure this problem (nor would voting straight liberal).

b said...

I paste the L-word over problems that are caused by liberal policies.

Proposition 13 was passed in 1978. Don't you think enough time has passed to get used to that fact and that school districts should budget accordingly?

I agree that the state is absolutely unworkable as it is now constituted. Ask yourself why it is unworkable and get out the paste.

Out of control costs? Get more paste out.

I also agree that a dominant part of the problem is indeed illegal immigration. What group insisted that these people should be allowed free access across our border? What group insisted that they be taught in their native language and they receive health care, etc. etc. More paste.

Voting the straight ticket on either side may not be a solution, but I sure would like try having a straight conservative legislature for once. And if you think Arnie is a conservative, you're quite wrong.

Masterlock said...

Looks like we're almost ready for pension reform for government unions in this state, we are getting close!

Anonymous said...

I would love to know how much the state spends each year printing textbooks in Spanish, plus other bi-lingual services such as library books in Spanish, etc...

Of courese, it's nearly impossible to get a straight answer to such a question.

Cheryl said...

Charging families of special education students for the services they receive would be a violation of 2 separate federal laws. IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Why not charge families for Gifted and Talented programs? Why not charge families for every time their student ends up in the principals office? Why not charge student athletes for upkeep of the facilities that they play in/on?

How is my learning disabled child any less entitled to a public education than my children who are not disabled?

I'm not sure what the MDUSD financials look like, but often a large part of the SpEd budget for school districts goes towards "outside services" such as placements for students outside of the district, and services from psychologists, physical/occupational/speech therapists and other specialists.

Anonymous said...

Everyone that recieves addional services should pay more than those of us who do not. As for the crisis US and CA is facing is because liberals, conservatives any label you have do not, have not and continue to not pay. Everyone wants something for nothing, this needs to stop. We have to start making sacrifices we should all lobby for union reform, increase retirement age, and pay service/product tax. It's time we hold ourselves accountable!

Anonymous said...

I was in 10th grade when Proposition 13 was passed and I remember our band teacher ranting and raving that this was the end, that the school would have to cut all after school programs including band and sports.

Of course, this was all gloom and doom and it never happened.

Proposition 13 was not the problem then and it is not the problem today.

The problem is spending. Special need spending is insane. The majority of that should be picked up by the parents.

Free breakfasts and lunches should be reserved to US citizens and legal residents. If we must educate illegal aliens, let's make sure they are actually paying taxes. My guess is most are under taxes or not taxed at all, and their kids are getting a free ride in school and free medical care on our dime.

We must cut spending. That is the only way out if this.

Anonymous said...

"On Wednesday night, the Acalanes Union High School District Governing Board unanimously approved a three-year contract with the Acalanes Education Association (AEA). This agreement exemplifies a sincere desire by our teachers to do their part, and much more, to buffer our students from the full brunt of state funding cutbacks.

The cost-saving measures in this contract include the following compensation adjustments:

Five unpaid furlough days for the next two school years
An increase of two students per class during the next two years
A restructuring of health benefits resulting in long-term savings
Cost containment measures on retiree benefits

On behalf of the AUHSD Governing Board, I commend our teachers and their leadership for collaborating with district staff to go the extra mile for our students."

Good first step from the teacher's union, now if everyone can follow with adjustments like these for our students!