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Culver City Declares California a 'State of Emergency'

Students, parents and staff demonstrate outside the middle school Friday in the end to a week of protests statewide against education budget cuts.

This week, California teachers, parents and children gathered to protest against state budget cuts to K-12 education that have totaled a whopping $20 billion over the last three years and affected schools statewide. Termed the “State of Emergency,” this grassroots movement has resulted in arrests in Sacramento and spurred lively gatherings, such as the one Friday morning in front of Culver City Middle School.

Many local parents and teachers are hoping that  will keep pushing to get tax hike extensions on the ballot. They believe that extending a quarter-percentage point increase in personal income tax rates that expired at the end of 2010 and maintaining a 1 percentage point boost in the sales tax past its June expiration could assist in closing the $26.6 billion California budget deficit. Republican lawmakers recently blocked the governor’s wish to put the tax measure on the June ballot. Without the extensions, it is likely that K-12 education will face additional budget cuts. 

In addition, Culver City residents were passing out fliers Friday morning in support of AB 1130, which would tax California's highest income earners—those making more than $500,000 a year—an additional 1 percent. This would bring in an additional $2.5 billion in annual revenue to the state.

On the local level, decreases in the state’s per-student funding and a host of other financial concerns have forced the Culver City Unified School District to compose a budget cut list that features the loss of 27 employees and the reduction of several positions from 12 to 11 months for the 2011-12 year. These cuts, which would save the district $828,572 a year, represent only a piece of the $3 million reduction that Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Ali Delawalla is targeting; the other piece of the pie is composed of 19.2 teacher pink slips, totaling $1,248,000 in savings per year.  

At a recent board of education meeting in Culver City, only $267,000 worth of the $828,572 in cuts have been made official, though all pink slips had been passed out as of the March 15 preliminary notification deadline.

Several of the proposed cuts have been tabled to allow further discussion, per the Board of Education.

Click on the video to hear from the city’s children and teachers on state budget cuts to education. 

Mary Van Loo May 16, 2011 at 05:24 PM
Schools are desperate. I've worked for Culver City Unified for almost thirty years and have seen it's ups and downs, however, I have taken a pay cut for about the last four years in a row to help balance the budget. I am typical of a hard working employee helping students all day long. CCUSD does however have the funds to give the Superintendent a $16,000 raise while laying off instructional aides and librarians who assist Culver City children all day long. This just doesn't add up to me. If we do extend all these taxes, will the money that the schools so desperately need be diverted to raises for the top administrators while instructional aides and librarians are still cut??? Mary Van Loo - Culver City High School, Tech Center - maryvanloo@ccusd.org - 310-842-4200 x3561
Winter Johnson May 16, 2011 at 08:33 PM
"In the revised budget plan Governor Jerry Brown releases Monday morning, education spending would increase by about $3 billion over what proposed in January," per today's Los Angeles Times. Parents: Sound off on the increase.
Janet Chabola May 16, 2011 at 08:38 PM
There will be no end to the fiscal crisis affecting schools in California until systemic change is implemented from Sacramento. All of the power and purse strings are held there. When will our elected officials do the right thing and eliminate all of the bureacracy that gives Culver City only 40% of the State mandated funds? There is no fat in the CCUSD budget. Administrators are not overpaid. We do not have too many administrators, just as we do not have too many teachers, aides or librarians. We simply do not have enough money!! Janet Chabola
Gary Abrams May 22, 2011 at 04:16 AM
Finally someone has seen the light. Okay all you elected or selected officials, you have heard it from someone other than me. Can you hear me now? http://www.thefrontpageonline.com/articles1-9122/SchoolBoardandRedevelopmentAgencyStupidityIstheWinner

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