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GUEST OPINION: Extend taxes to save California education

By STEVEN D. HERRINGTON

Traditionally, once the governor’s May budget revision is released, school districts generally have a good indication of where they stand financially. But that’s not the case this year.

Steven Herrington

The state owes public education $13 billion from prior-year budgets, and it has not determined how it will meet this outstanding legal obligation. Three billion is tentatively included in 2011-12 budget, but what is the plan for paying the remaining $10 billion?

The governor’s May revision proposes that funding for education remain at 2009 levels for the next two years, but it also includes revenue from the extension of the temporary tax rates. This tax revenue is essential to settling the state’s legal debt obligation to schools. Gov. Jerry Brown is adamant that the budget problems in California not be perpetuated, and he maintains that, without extended tax revenue, the state will need to make significant cuts to education — more significant than those we’ve already experienced.

For California school districts, this all-cuts budget “alternative” is equivalent to an additional 20-day reduction of classes. That’s four full weeks of lost instruction for students.

Compounding the budget stresses facing schools is the fact that the federal stimulus dollars that have helped fill the funding gap for the last two years have now ended. The federal stimulus provided more than $58 million for Sonoma County schools over that two-year period.

The Sonoma County Office of Education reviews and approves all school district budgets in the county, so we know how this budget turmoil is affecting schools. My office has recommended that local districts establish budgets that include cuts totaling at least $350 per student.

Once all the Sacramento wrangling is over and a state budget is finalized, districts will have 45 days to make financial adjustments. If the tax extensions gain approval, some programs may be added back and some staff may be reinstated for the 2011-12 school year. If there are no tax extensions, all the budget cuts will remain and additional, more drastic, cuts will need to be made.

As the state Education Coalition has said, these additional cuts could imperil the education of a generation of California students.

This is not a good situation, but it’s all that our schools have to work with right now. The bigger issue is that the long-term problem of school funding in California has not been solved. Schools need solid, secure funding to educate our community’s children to high academic standards.

So, the pressure is still on the state Legislature. We must have a long-term budget solution, one that addresses the state’s school debt obligation and provides for California’s education needs. Brown’s proposal to temporarily extend the taxes is the one and only feasible plan being discussed, and it has gained strong support from the education community, state Chamber of Commerce, and many individuals across Sonoma County and the state.

If you believe in the value of public education and care about the future of this county’s young citizens, please join me in pushing for approval of the governor’s budget plan.

Steven D. Herrington is Sonoma County’s superintendent of schools and a member of the Sonoma County Education Coalition.





49 Responses to “GUEST OPINION: Extend taxes to save California education”

  1. Realityville says:

    @Carol Miller

    CA taxes businesses too heavily? MYTH.

    Here’s my liberal-biased FACTchecker:
    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/oct/24/business/la-fi-adv-biz-taxes-20101024

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. Sarky Fish says:

    Eliminate all school administrators. Cut their retirement in half, and allow teachers to elect a “lead teacher” who will then liaison between the school board; the state, and public.

    Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  3. John Hudson says:

    RealityCheck (not to be confused with Realityville) has really asked a great question. Where DOES all that money go? Some of it does go for what used to be called “frills”, but still, as much is spent on other things as teacher compensation.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  4. Reality Check says:

    In my memory is correct, Santa Rosa spends about $9,000 per student per year. The average class size is (a guess) 25-26 students. That’s about $230,000 per class for a 180 day year.

    Someone needs to break this down for me. If the average teacher earns $65,000, plus 50% in pension and benefit costs, that accounts for about $100,000. Is the overhead really $130,000 per class? Or are benefits more than 50% of salary? Too many administrators?

    It’s hard to see why that kind of money isn’t enough. It sure is in other countries. Where does all that money go?

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  5. Realityville says:

    Huh? FACTS serve my “special interest?” I guess Stephen Colbert was right, facts do have a liberal bias, don’t they?

    “In any case, I am extremely reluctant to increase funding for an educational system that benefits illegal aliens”

    Back to illegals. I knew it wouldn’t take long. BTW, you do realize, don’t you, that it’s the SCOTUS who has ruled free public education is for everyone? Sorry, can’t blame that on CTA.

    “and will hold my son’s ethnic background against him when he tries to gain admission to the University of California.”

    Okaaaaaay. He can’t compete with the Asians, eh?

    “(As I said earlier, the UC educrats see it as their duty to frustrate the intent of the voters in enacting Props 209 and 187.)”

    Well, it CERTAINLY wasn’t the Supreme Court, now was it?

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  6. John Hudson says:

    Anyone who publishes these figures obviously has an axe to grind. You appear to be part of the educational establishment. Therefore any figures you provide will serve your special interest. If you wish to deny that you are a public employee, give your real name so I can check you out. I am very easy to investigate.

    In any case, I am extremely reluctant to increase funding for an educational system that benefits illegal aliens and will hold my son’s ethnic background against him when he tries to gain admission to the University of California. (As I said earlier, the UC educrats see it as their duty to frustrate the intent of the voters in enacting Props 209 and 187.)

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  7. Reality Check says:

    @Catherine, thanks for the ed info site. The unanswered question in this debate, heck, the rarely asked question is: How much should we spend on schools? An answer of “more” is not helpful.

    Useful, I think, is to try to find out if more spending equals better eduction. Your site helps to, at least, suggest an answer.

    Here are the 10 states that spend the most money per student:

    1. New Jersey
    2. New York
    3. District of Columbia
    4. Alaska
    5. Connecticut
    6. Rhode Island
    7. Vermont
    8. Wyoming
    9. Massachusetts
    10. Maryland

    Here are the top 10 states ranked by 8th grade NAEP science scores:

    1. North Dakota
    2. Montana
    3. Dept of Defense Schools
    4. South Dakota
    5. New Hampshire
    6. Massachusetts
    7. Minnesota
    8. Wyoming
    9. Maine
    10. Ohio

    Comparing 12th grade math scores yields similar results.

    The results don’t surprise me. States that spend the most often do so for reasons having little to do with improving education.

    Sadly, I wish education in California could be improved by “just” spending more money. I don’t think so. If one wants to solve a problem, first we need to correctly identify it. Money isn’t the root problem here, I’m afraid

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  8. Holly says:

    Well said, Catherine!

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  9. Common Sense says:

    @Catherine,
    I checked out the link you provided, and it did imply some interesting things. First off it should be noted that all the data is from 2007-2008. They indicate that CA spent almost $12,000.00 per pupil in the 2007-2008 budget year and was ranked just about in middle off all states in terms of money spent per pupil for that year. It did leave me wondering why spending $12,000 per student was insufficent for that time frame and quite frankly for this time frame. But then when you compared those statisitics with State spending from the Health and Human Services Dept., it clearly suggests that we have one of the largest populations of people living off or relying on public assistance, and when you add in the high number of ESL students, per their own statistics, it does seem to give some credence to those who argue that illegal immigration has had a serious and somewhat costly impact on our public schools. Although, I’m not sure of the exact sources of their data and calculations, so they could be skewed for all I know and I couldn’t locate any of their numbers and sources regarding administrators, so I’m unclear exactly how they came to that conclusion. It appears the link you gave was a public talking points link, and so one has to dig for the actual numbers/calculations, but it was interesting.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  10. Catherine says:

    If you are interested in the facts on public education spending then you may want to look at:
    http://www.edsource.org/pub10-how-ca-ranks.html
    In fact, CA educated more students than any other state and CA has the most ethnically diverse and neediest students in the country. About half of CA students come from economically disadvantaged homes higher than in Texas, Florida or New York) and where English is not their first language. Due to the higher proportion of students in CA in public schools, CA has a needier student population and a lower level of funding than other states. The level of school administrators is also lower in CA. State comparisons show that CA is in 48th place for school principals and assistant principals and 47th place for district officials/administrators. CA school have a harder job and less people to do the work. While it is easy to bash adults without looking at the facts, this is about serving children, not adults. With so many families struggling, the need for schools to support students has grown at the same time that resources have decreased. How we treat our children says a lot about our society. For those who are primarily interested in economics, it can help to be reminded that the children we are caring for today will be paying into our social security and Medicare in future years. We need to take care of them.

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  11. Realityville says:

    Why are you being so obstinate? These aren’t “my” facts. You know have two resources backing up what I said.

    http://www.edsource.org/pub_QA_FinanceSyst06.html

    What are the sources of district
    operating funds?

    *The federal government contributes about
    10% of the education budget.
    *About 60% of the funds are from the
    state—generated by business and personal
    income taxes, sales taxes, and some
    special taxes.
    *Local property taxes are a little less than 23% of all funds. The Legislature and governor determine what part of these revenues goes to schools.
    *less than 2% of the total, or about $150 per student—is from the California
    Lottery.
    *Miscellaneous local revenues are about
    6% of the total. These come from a variety
    of sources, such as special elections
    for parcel taxes (needs a two-thirds
    vote for approval); contributions from
    foundations, businesses, and individuals;
    food service sales, and interest on
    investments.

    “A district’s revenue limit can be increased only by legislation, not by the school board, superintendent, or local voters. When property taxes rise, most schools do not directly benefit. The additional income goes toward the revenue limit, and the state’s share is reduced proportionately. In about 60 of the almost 1,000 school districts, however, property taxes fill up or exceed the revenue limit. These districts are allowed to keep their excess property tax revenues.”

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  12. John Hudson says:

    Exactly how much of each revenue source is used for schools depends on the wealth of the district. Some districts have a very strong tax base. For these districts, that raise more money from property taxes, the portion that comes from the state is lower. Poorer districts get a higher proportion of funds from the state. To say that the proportion of funds from each source is uniform throughout the state, as you have, is patently false.

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  13. Pearl Alquileres says:

    @Pearl Alquileres why stop 1959? Why not back track to the year 1900? Oh because most of use would be here.

    The problem when people talk about immigration is just troll on comment boards “yeah send them all back”. The subject has become a boring, dry, non-copacetic conversation. Why do you ask? Because most people are ill informed and it is hard to reciprocate provocative discussion .

    I don’t know if I’m getting smarter or people are getting….. but people are blind to the realization that it is not our government that in control anymore but the wealth, 1 percent-elite that dictates our immigration policy and every other government policy.

    I used to be a Republican but hells no will I be Democratic.

    If you want to real know what is going on with our schools please watch this video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  14. Realityville says:

    @John Hudson

    CA schools are NOT primarily funded by local or property taxes. (Not since Prop 13 passed.) They were once upon a time, but not anymore. http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us/articles/article.asp?title=Guide%20to%20California%20School%20Finance%20System

    Funds from the federal government are about 13% of the K-12 education budget.

    • About 55% of the total comes from the state’s budget: business, corporate and personal income taxes, sales taxes, and some special taxes.

    • Local property taxes are about 22%, an amount that is determined within the state’s budget.

    **Now STOP and ask yourself this: if you got this BASIC bit of info wrong, what other myths concerning education are you operating under?**

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  15. Carol Miller says:

    The truth is more taxes drives more business and the revenue out of California and stops business from expanding and creating more taxes.

    That is why no new taxes! This state stumbles along hoping for a fix to the deficit from the tax fairy. Well, the tax fairly has given up on the politicans in Sacramento who have no limits on spending.

    Sacramento needs to cut spending to schools, local government and cutback on their own created social welfare programs.

    They won’t and the wise politicans will not give them carte blanche to go to the well again. Game over.

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 9

  16. John Hudson says:

    @ Realityville

    Schools are funded primarily by LOCAL taxes. Therefore, if Oregon schools are forced to close early it is due to failure to collect enough LOCAL taxes. The sales and income taxes in California do not fund schools except indirectly. Schools are primarily funded by property taxes, including parcel taxes.

    Thank-you for admitting that California and Oregon have “comparable” SAT scores in spite of Proposition 13.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  17. Robert Michaelson says:

    @Jon Bly Why should the CTA pay for public schools? Teachers already subsidize their own classrooms with hundreds of their own dollars.(I know this my wife is a teacher) BY the way I am sure you wouldn’t expect your own well heeled pals in the Sonoma County Alliance to stop spending all THEIR money on endorsing candidates and paying for racist, anti immigrant mailers like they did during the last Board Of Supervisors election, would you? Even though their shady connections to Dutra and Basin Street show more corruption and waste than the hard working people at CTA. When shady business organizations like the Alliance stop trying to stiff the state and evade taxes while exploiting illegals then you can adopt the high moral ground. Until then you might want to get off your soapbox.

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 9

  18. Common Sense says:

    After reading this article, I looked up the current proposed revisions by the Gov. for the 2011-2010 budget. Education is 35.5% of the proposed expenditures from the general fund. Health and Human Services is 28.1% of the proposed expenditures from the general fund. When compared to prior budgets (from 2008-2010), it is apparent that the numbers have not decreased as indicated by many in the media, and in this article. So, I’m left with the opinon, that this is not a problem to be solved by annually increasing tax dollars allocated to these pieces of the expenditure pie, but one that needs to be addressed in greater detail to determine why the amount of money we are currently spending isn’t producing the results it should.
    A interesting side note is that Corrections/Law Enforcement is only 11.7% of the expenditures from the general fund.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

  19. GAJ says:

    @Victor Daniels.

    You try to make it sound like deficits in California are something new? That without the recent recession we’d be in great shape due to the fiscally responsible spine that is the Democratically controlled State Legislature?

    Here’s something from 2003.

    “State governments are experiencing unprecedented budget deficits and the State of California is not different. The amount most commonly tied to California’s deficit is 38 billion dollars. Using a current services approach, as used by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO’s), the forecast deficit is 29.5 to 30 billion dollars, almost 40 percent of general fund expenditures for current services. ”

    http://www.allbusiness.com/accounting/budget/672683-1.html

    There were deficits in the early ’90′s, which turned to surpluses during the dotcom era, but the insatiable State government went absolutely insane, especially in 1999, putting us into a spending crater I fear we can’t get out of without a massive “return to sanity” starting withreigning in spending on all government employees in the upper tiers.

    Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

  20. Realityville says:

    @John Bly

    Why are you condemning CTA with such a large blanket? I know “Unions are evil” is the flavor of the month, but shouldn’t it be based on facts rather than rhetoric?

    CTA doesn’t have anything to do with districts merging or not merging, that’s a LOCAL issue.

    More and more districts are holding students accountable for their performance, but it’s a double-edged sword. Schools don’t have as much money for remediation or credit recovery, yet drop out rates are a black mark. And how many parents do you think would agree with you and wouldn’t fight tooth and nail for Jr. to graduate, even if he doesn’t do anything? How many would/do threaten lawsuits?

    BTW, public education is free-you can’t charge.

    That unions protect bad teachers is a myth. There may be bad apples out there, but guess what, I’ll bet the family farm that most of them got good evaluations from principals. Call any local district and see if they’ll tell you how many of their permanent teachers got unsatisfactory evaluations. It’s probably close to zero. That’s not a CTA problem, that’s a principal training problem.

    But please, back to your CTA bashing.

    Thumb up 11 Thumb down 12

  21. Realityville says:

    @John Hudson

    What are you talking about? A quick internet search on Oregon does not substantiate your assertions. There have been a few times within the last ten years that Oregon schools had to shut their doors early because of a lack of funds. (Google “Oregon schools close early.”

    Funding of public education in Oregon is complicated. http://bluebook.state.or.us/education/educationintro.htm

    Oregon and California SAT scores are comparable.

    Like too many Californians, you are operating as if MYTH was TRUTH. That’s partially what makes it so difficult to have worthwhile discussions on public education.

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 9

  22. Realityville says:

    @Reality M.

    Mr. Herrington’s large salary has already been negotiated and agreed on. He will collect his salary whether or not the tax extensions go through.

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 11

  23. Realityville says:

    @Joe Right

    We’re in this financial mess BECAUSE of the private sector.

    Also, look how well that has worked for Petaluma.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 18

  24. Steve Klausner says:

    Fire all the administrators and give all the teachers a raise.

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 7

  25. I will avoid making uncomplimentary comments about most of the postings and posters above–it’s a challenge, but important to civil discourse. Think again: The essence of our present problems is none of the above. Most of our public servants are working hard and receiving a fair wage. Compare that with corporate executives who are paid 500 times as much as workers in their companies, not even including stock options. (If you doubt it, check out the profiles of a selection of companies on Yahoo Finance.) The present problems are caused primarily by (1) The dramatic drop in tax revenues due to the Great Recession (in which more jobs were lost as in the previous four recessions combined), the smaller number of wage earners who have decently paying jobs as a result of so many jobs being sent overseas to countries where people are paid $1 a day, the dramatic decline of taxes paid by corporations and the very wealthy few (Schwarzenegger made a number of secret deals to reduce selected corporate taxes), and the end of the tax on offshore oil revenues that used to go directly to higher education, which was abolished by previous governors who were beholden to special interests. Most of the lottery money was long ago taken away from education and used for other deficit areas. Governor Pete Wilson scooped up many local and county revenue streams to finance state operations instead of leaving them in local hands and finding statewide revenue sources to finance state operations. Just look around you: MOST states in the U.S. are in major financial trouble due to such problems. When you trash and condemn your fellow workers in both public and private sectors instead of looking at where the truly big money is and where it goes, you are playing right into the hands of the oligarchy that runs the state and the country for their own benefit–not yours any more than that of public servants. Don’t be fooled into being pawns of the powers that stand ready to impoverish middle class and working class Americans for the benefit of the tiny cadre at the very top. Your fellow American workingmen and women, whether in the public or private sector, are not the enemy. And ask yourself, is a tiny decrease in the sales tax or vehicle tax truly going to make any significant difference in your life? If you say “yes,” I’ll bet you’re fooling yourself. Will it help our children? If you say “no,” you’re also fooling yourself. What do you personally get out of doing that, besides putting somebody else down so you can feel superior?

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 13

  26. GAJ says:

    Nicola Marena said:

    “The hard reality in the California today is that the Republicans and the Right are now fully organized, armed with a potent propaganda machine and possessing an extraordinary political will. They are well-positioned to roll the California economy off the cliff and blame the catastrophe on Brown and the future of our children.”

    That is a good one!

    the GOP is so strong and insidious in the State of California that the new redistricting boundaries are expected to result in the 2/3 majority that the Democrats have been pining for.

    You knew that, right?

    “California released its initial redistricting map Friday and while observers are still poring over the new lines of 53 House seats the early analysis is giving the advantage to the Democrats.

    The party could take four or five GOP-held seats under the draft plan, including those of Republican Reps. David Dreier, Elton Gallegly, Gary Miller, Dan Lungren and Brian Bilbray.”

    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/redistricting/165881-early-analysis-gives-dems-advantage-in-california-redistricting

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

  27. RAW says:

    I don’t think you can declare BK when all you have to do is cut your unneccessary spending. Lots of that. Too much on pensions, renegotiate when the contracts come due. Too much welfare, take care of that with the current budget, gone. As for illegals, I am all for employeeing “legal only” because I do not support organized criminal activity like these labor halls around the county. Wine will be more expensive, ok. Now we are good.

    Thumb up 13 Thumb down 8

  28. Jon Bixler says:

    Mr. Wirth… your perspective of our public schools is disheartening. Your analogies are patently ridiculous.

    I’ve had children in the public school system for the past 15 or so years. We have problems. Our districts are legally obligated to pander to State and Federal politics. We don’t have control over how and where we spend our money. No Child Left Behind is an utter and abysmal failure and should have been unceremoniously discarded along with the Texan boob that championed it. Classroom sizes are ever on the rise. Our teachers spend an obscene amount of time teaching to tests which determine whether or not schools continue to receive Federal funding. These things must change.

    Having said that, I dispute your contention that our high school graduates are qualified to do nothing more than sell weed or flip burgers.

    My 16 year old attends Elsie Allen High School. She’s takes all AP classes and is a mostly straight A student. She’s actively involved in drama and will be going to the Fringe Festival in Scotland in August. She’s starting college courses at Sonoma State in her Junior year.

    My daughter is not alone in her success. She is surrounded by many other students who have managed to find success in a bad situation. The difference between a successful public school student and a not so successful one seems to hinge largely on parental involvement. Our children are flourishing because we demand it of them. We are actively involved in their education experience. We know the teachers and are aware of their homework requirements. We make sure they have the help they need when they need it.

    There is no room for apathy in the public school experience. The very idea that you can send your child off to school at age 6 and have a highly functioning reasonably well educated young adult 12 years later is ignorant. Please don’t be ignorant, Mr. Wirth.

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  29. Peter B. says:

    I just read a news item.

    The CA State Legislature is creating a law right now to prevent local governments from altering public library operations if it causes public employees to lose their public jobs.

    Thats the problem in CA. Government simply refuses to pare itself back.

    They refuse in their usual arrogant manner and then demand more money from us as if their public jobs are a “right.”

    Thumb up 21 Thumb down 7

  30. Peter B. says:

    The article author, STEVEN D. HERRINGTON, suggests that the “only way” from his opinion is tax hikes and tax extensions.

    I notice he intentionally didn’t mention how much government could save by merging all the school districts.

    How many sets of duplicate school big shots do we really need ???????????

    Notice how the government never provides the break down on all the duplication of administrators and school boards ? All they ever do is demand more money from us.

    Thumb up 22 Thumb down 10

  31. Common Sense says:

    No, No, No!!! We’ve been spending over half of the general fund on K-12 and higher education for years, each year we’ve increased spending on education until recently. It’s never enough and yet our kids are no better educated now then they were 10 years ago, and in my opinion are worse off.
    In Novato alone, we have 9 public elementary schools, all with their own large administrative staffs. We pay enough…they need to start cleaning house and bringing the focus back to teachers and classrooms, instead of having multiple districts and administrators.
    And yes, non-english speaking student populations do effect a school, especially when they are enrolled in large numbers and there is no system set up to deal with the obvious issues that accompany them. I would not want my child in the same class as those who do not speak english, and not because I’m a racist, but because it affects the way the class is taught. A teacher cannot teach effectively if he or she is trying to teach to both english and non-english students simultaneously. English is the native language in this country, as it should be, and children need to learn it to succeed both in school and beyond. But to ingore the burden and cost of these issues on our schools system will only lead us to more of the same, which is nowhere.

    Thumb up 24 Thumb down 7

  32. Jim Flatow says:

    The proposed Jerry Brown tax increase is aimed at California government spending not at making programs better or keeping the schools going.

    It won’t cut the deficit or keep it from growing because of the ongoing democrat spending in Sacramento and at the local level.

    Just say no to any tax increase until the democrats get the message and stop spending money we taxpayers don’t have.

    How many times have we been told this little tax increase will save the schools or a vital government service and it didn’t do anything except drive up the spending and government deficit.

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 9

  33. John bly says:

    Maybe Herrington should ask the CTA for part of the $207 billion back that was spent on political donations in the last decade in California before he asks us to pay more taxes so the CTA can buy more elected officials. Cut down on the school districts and save admin money. Flunk and charge extra for students that don’t produce. Require more parent participation in their children”s education. And make it easier to fire bad teachers. If Herrington did all that, I might consider giving the schools more tax money-but not to sustain the status quo. No way. The system in place gives the good teachers a bad rap and that is unfair too.

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  34. Nicola Marena says:

    The hard reality in the California today is that the Republicans and the Right are now fully organized, armed with a potent propaganda machine and possessing an extraordinary political will. They are well-positioned to roll the California economy off the cliff and blame the catastrophe on Brown and the future of our children.

    Any budget balancing and no new taxes will come at the expense of labor rights for union employees and shifting the costs for a healthy California economy onto the backs of the poor(the non-affluent ones-90% -the poor ones). Yet, all this will be surrounded by intense propaganda explaining the public pain as a hangover from misguided government “social engineering.”

    Of course, the reality of a new Republican agenda, especially with a GOP legislators, would be the return of the old right-wing nostrums: more tax cuts for the rich, less regulation of corporations, and more privatization of social programs.

    There is, of course, the possibility that the California people will see through today’s Republican CIA-style strategy of “making the economy scream.” California’s might come to recognize the role of the pseudo-populist propagandists on MEDIA (Fox News, CBS, ABC, NBC, Lo Angels Times, GUEST OPINION: Extend taxes to save California education and talk radio).

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 21

  35. No-One says:

    Funny that everyone goes back to illegal aliens…just remember illegal aliens the next time your drinking a nice glass of wine. It’s okay for illegal aliens to bust their but working in a vineyard as long as they don’t expect their child to reap the benefits of being in America.

    As long as the wine tastes good, right?!?

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 35

  36. Originalist says:

    How do you spell STATE BANKRUPTCY!

    This is the easiest and best way for a state that has overpaid every public servant and granted them retirement benefits the state cant afford. Until the state drastically cuts both via bankruptcy it is just playing games at the publics expense and the childrens expense!

    Thumb up 38 Thumb down 12

  37. Paul I. says:

    The education establishment says it’s all a matter of money, statistics show no direct line between spending and academic achievement, in state-to-state or school-to-school comparisons.

    The issue is vey complicated – cultural pressures, societal expectations, parental involvement, discipline and everything wlse you could think of.

    And all we get is the same old we need more money.

    Meanwhile, at least 150,000 youngsters who were enrolled in California’s schools didn’t make it to high school graduation ceremonies this year.

    Thumb up 34 Thumb down 8

  38. Phil Maher says:

    Screw the public schools in Ca. Shut ‘em down. Go ahead and vote with your meaningless, frustrated little thumbs- it won’t fix a thing, and it’s not going to win you anything better, regardless of how much money we throw at it. That $13bil that Mr Herrington wants back represents the accrual of many, many years worth of cuts. Even with higher tax rates, they didn’t get it done then, and they sure as hell aren’t going to be getting it done with more of the same. Failure is failure.

    @Scoliosis- “…our school districts fate…”

    Districts’= plural possessive…apostrophe after the “s”…welcome to the club

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  39. John Hudson says:

    Oregon gets by better than California with NO SALES TAX! Nevada gets by better than California with NO INCOME TAX! California, with six times as many people paying BOTH TAXES than Oregon and Nevada combined have paying ONE TAX is in a chronic state of fiscal crisis. Obviously the problem is not that Californians are under taxed. The problem is that our state government is full of tax and spend politicians beholden to the building industry, public employee unions, and illegal aliens.

    At the same time, we have educrats like Chancellor Birgenau at Cal whining about how various policies will adversely affect “undocumented” students and taking it as his duty to frustrate the will of the voters as contained in Proposition 209. Birgenau collects almost $400,000 a year.

    Why does the county need another educrat like Herrington? Each school district already has a superintendent. We have to have a county superintendent To superintend the district superintendents? Then the state has still another superintend the lower level superintendents.

    My son attends the Santa Rosa Charter School. There is on principal and one administrative assistant. The money is spent in the classroom instead of on educrats like Herrington. Santa Rosa Charter school selects its students by lottery and consistently has very high test scores. Educrats hate charter schools because they lose control over resources to parents who actually act in the best interest of their children.

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  40. Mitch Fowler says:

    What happened to the Lottery money going directly to the schools?

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  41. J.R. Wirth says:

    With or without new taxes, public schools are a form of child abuse. Putting a child in a public school (especially a California one) is like putting a child in a North Korean hospital. The problem is not funding, the problem is an unresponsive, corrupt bureaucracy.

    California public schools are the world’s most expensive baby sitting service. Children who go through that mill have a very limited career path- weed dealer, short order cook, personal trainer for the more advanced who can count reps….

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  42. Scoliosis says:

    It seems that some, to most of these responses to Dr. Herrington (spelled with an “e”-Ray M.) failed their own CA basic standards:

    Reading Comprehension 2.0- Students read and understand essential ideas, arguments, and perspectives

    Word Analysis 1.3- use word meanings within the appropriate context

    Written and Oral Language Conventions 1.0- students write and speak with a command of standard English

    and finally…

    Writing Strategies 1.0- Students write clear coherent essays and exhibit awareness of audience and purpose.

    Will you really blame your own personal education (dating back as far as 1959), for assuming Dr. Herrington’s editorial as more money motivated, than merely just the hard reality of our school districts fate in this very difficult economy? Get real.

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  43. Dan Delgado says:

    “We must have a long-term budget solution, one that addresses the state’s school debt obligation and provides for California’s education needs. Brown’s proposal to temporarily extend the taxes is the one and only feasible plan being discussed.”

    So Mr. Herrington thinks temporary taxes hold the answer to long-term solutions? Maybe our educational problems run deeper than we thought.

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  44. JustSayin says:

    Where did all the money go, from all of the tax increases in the past, that were supposed to go towards education, parks, roads etc etc etc. The money went to pay for higher salaries and pensions. You know it, they know it. Once again we are being fed the “big lie”. Everytime you hear the threat of closing schools, closing parks, stopping road repairs unless you pay more taxes, just remember the truth…you have already paid for these services. The politicans are taking that money, your money, away from you to pay for unsustainable salaries and benefits.

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  45. Pearl Alquileres says:

    How about returning to the “2009″ levels of ILLEGAL immigrants in our schools?
    Or better yet… the 1959 levels!

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  46. Phil Maher says:

    The administrations of 40 or so districts in the county, a county board of education, a state board of education, a federal dept of education, 3 weeks per year spent on STAR testing, remedial ESL taking precedence over AP curriculum…shall I continue? It would be one thing if the system wasn’t so top heavy and cumbersome, and if our ranking wasn’t 47 out of 50, but that’s not the case. Good luck getting that $13bil back. The state has demonstrated its priorities very clearly, as well as repeatedly, and education doesn’t appear to be one of them. Threats to public education funding are held like the sword of Damocles over our heads, and we’re tired of it. Rather than the typical annual spiel to the people to step-up with more and more, for less and less, work for a change in the priorities of our lawmakers and get your own house in order. Then, and only then, will a meaningful solution be found. Schools need a long-term strategy, but suffer as a result of being caught up in a short-term, myopic, mercenary world of political convenience that exists only from one election to the next. If education, time, and the benefit of previous experience have taught most of us anything, it’s that we’re not buying what you’re selling.

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  47. Reality Check says:

    The best option, of some very bad ones, would be for Senate Democrats to succeed with their bluff threat to grant cities and school districts wider options in seeking tax increases.

    Reestablishing local control should be on the table for discussion. But the good superintendent, I fear, does not relish the thought of schools, once again, being brought to account before local voters. Better to demand more of Sacramento, where a state budget has morphed into a giant slush fund, indecipherable to all but a few.

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  48. Ray M. says:

    It looks like Mr. Harrington wants a pay raise. On the backs of the taxpayer.

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  49. joe right says:

    Five years ago sales and dmv fees where raised with the expectation that it was enough to bail out failed spending policies. Now after five year these same people (city,county,state) are selling the same story.
    There is NO reason to expect any different result another five years from now. Money needs to be left in the private sector where it can produce a better economic growth making a revenue stream which will raise tax receipts.

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