K-12 Education Management Group Calls Upon Governor and Legislature
Protect Children and Reject Further Cuts to K-12 Education Funding

On behalf of California’s school leaders, the Education Management Group (EMG) opposes further budget cuts to California’s grossly underfunded public schools.

Public schools are already reeling from over $3 billion ($500 per student) in core ongoing K-12 education expenditure reductions, more than $2 billion in apportionment deferrals, and the lack of COLA. The simple fact is that any further cuts are fundamentally inconsistent with California’s responsibility to provide its children with the opportunity to meet established academic standards.

The EMG calls upon the Governor and Legislature to make a clear commitment to protecting K-12 education funding from further reductions in the 2009-10 budget for the following reasons:

• California schools are grossly underfunded. California’s public schools ranked 47th among states in per pupil funding and the bottom quartile in spending as a percentage of per capita personal income - and that was before losing over $3 billion in core instructional funding.

• California schools have experienced dramatic and disproportionate funding cuts. In five of the past eight budget years, California schools have received mid-year expenditure reductions far in excess of other program areas.
o Since 1998-99, California general fund spending on K-12 education has grown by 57%, while state revenues have grown by 71% and non-education state spending has increased by 80%.
o K-14 education received 57% ($8.4 billion) of the February, 2009, budget cuts; while representing only 40% of total state spending.

• California ranks last among the states in the number of school staff per student. California would need to hire 96,000 additional teachers, 9,000 administrators, 42,000 librarians, counselors, nurses and instructional aides and 66,000 janitors, bus drivers and security guards to reach the national average in student to staff ratio.
o A typical school elsewhere in America has 30% more teachers and 61% more school-site administrators per student than the typical school in California.
o Amazingly, as a result of the February state budget cuts, California school districts took action to eliminate another 25,000 teaching and administrative positions from our schools beginning in the next school year.

California’s schools are currently implementing significant 2008-09 mid-year reductions and deferrals and the additional reduction to revenue limits and categorical programs in 2009-10. If more reductions in the 2009-10 fiscal year are made, the achievement gap will widen, student performance will suffer, class sizes will explode, student support services will be further decimated, classified employees will all but disappear, the ability to recruit the best and brightest teaching staff will be gone, and the stature of this once great state to compete in the national and world economy will be set back for decades. It is critical that the Governor and the legislature honor the commitment they made to public schools when enacting the 17-month budget on February 20th. As painful as that budget is, it at least represents a minimal funding commitment to education that must be sustained at all costs.

The Education Management Group (EMG) represents all statewide management groups including schools boards (CSBA), school administrators (ACSA), county superintendents (CCSESA), school business officials (CASBO), urban, suburban and small school district associations and 131 individual school districts and 16 individual county offices of education.