The Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) said yesterday that funding cuts to California schools that are being proposed by the state are too deep and could threaten the ability of school districts to meet the academic needs of students.
Bob Wells, executive director of the Association of California School Administrators, said that while his organization recognizes that some spending cuts and new revenues must be part of the solution to solving the state's budget crisis, "we also know that the cuts under consideration are so deep they jeopardize essential educational programs and threaten the fiscal stability of school districts."
Wells issued his warning following State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell's annual "State of Education" address in Sacramento.
"We appreciate Superintendent O'Connell's reminder to all education stakeholders that we must remain united and undeterred in these challenging economic times," Wells said. "O'Connell's call for long-overdue reforms and for eliminating bureaucratic red-tape would help educators ensure that our students and their success remain our highest priorities."
"There is no denying that the state finds itself in an extremely difficult situation on the budget," Wells added. "As the governor and Legislature endlessly debate possible solutions, educators are increasingly concerned about proposals being discussed that place a disproportionate share of the cuts on California students."
Wells cited a recent report by Education Week that showed California ranks 47th in the nation in per-pupil funding. The report stated that the $3.5 billion in cuts made last year have led to larger class sizes, more than 10,000 layoffs of teachers and other education support staff, and the further elimination of art, music, and career technical education programs.
Current proposals to cut school funding by another $10 billion during the next 17 months have created widespread concern and stress for educators and education communities, Education Week reported.
"The ACSA is adamantly opposed to funding cuts that threaten our ability to meet the academic needs of our students and the achievement goals set by the state," Wells said. "As school leaders, we also want to convey our strongest possible support for broad fiscal flexibility that helps educators manage cuts at the local level."
He said the ACSA is urging state leaders to focus on approaches that help ease the challenges the budget cuts will bring, adding that every option available that reduces the onerous cuts falling on education must be considered.
"Cuts to education are devastating to all of us, and decisions about how these cuts will be managed are best made by parents, students, educators and other local stakeholders in honest and open budget discussions," Wells said. "O'Connell is correct that the creativity and dedication of educators and all education stakeholders will move us forward through these challenging times."