On March 20th, Santa Cruz County school superintendents were joined by more than two hundred educators, parents, school board trustees, and members of the public on the steps of Santa Cruz High School to protest the governor’s proposal to cut education budgets by 10%. On a perfect spring day, scores of students added their voices to the enthusiastic crowd of supporters who had come to show solidarity with county educators. Superintendents Michael Watkins, Alan Pagano, and Mary Anne Mays spoke to the need for state leaders to solve the budget shortfall without endangering the future of California’s students. Assemblymember John Laird called for a bipartisan solution and revenue enhancements to protect education spending.County educators and parents alike are concerned that California’s per pupil spending, already the 46th lowest in the nation, is poised to drop another $800 per student. Local school districts have issued hundreds of lay-off notices and are anticipating hundreds more in spring. Schools are gearing up to curtail essential programs in music, art, physical education, nutrition, second language acquisition, and student support. Although school district leaders and school board trustees will try to keep cuts as far from the classroom as possible, the reality is that a 10% cut will lower the quality of the education county students receive.
For more information on the rally, read an article published by the Santa Cruz Sentinel.