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Rallying for school funds

Educators, parents protest proposed budget cuts by the state, citing children as custodians of future economy.

February 11, 2009|By Zain Shauk

If lawmakers make education a priority, O’Connell said, steady funding would help produce Californians who are better educated and more able to compete in the global economy.

“It’s really very simple,” he said. “If you want to invest in the future, then you have to invest in education. If you want to short-change the future, then you short-change education.”

A crowd of about 50 parents and educators gathered to hear the addresses on the front lawn of Glenoaks Elementary, holding signs that read “Invest in Children” and “$timulate our Schools.”

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Donna Cunningham, PTA president at Edison Elementary School in Burbank, was one of the parents cheering on as speakers criticized proposals for cuts to schools.

“With the resources we have in the state, it’s appalling that we put such little emphasis on education,” she said.

O’Connell stressed the need for quick action by the Legislature to prevent the state’s deficit from growing and potentially having a further impact on educational funding.

“California is in crisis, plain and simple,” he said. “And each day that goes by without a budget agreement makes our state’s fiscal crisis worse.”

Schwarzenegger and the Democratic and Republican leaders in the Assembly and state Senate are continuing to deliberate over a plan to solve the state’s fiscal emergency, said Shannon Murphy, spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Karen Bass.

A finalized plan has been delayed as representatives have attempted to craft a focused plan, said Murphy, who accused Republicans of slowing the process by bringing up issues that were not related to the budget crisis.

Democrats have placed a priority on education and have succeeded in influencing the governor into a “more reasonable position,” Democratic Assemblyman Paul Krekorian said.

“We’ve had an impact in reducing the worst aspects of the governor’s proposed education cuts,” he said.


 ZAIN SHAUK covers education. He may be reached at (818) 637-3238 or by e-mail at zain.shauk@latimes.com. Jason Wells contributed to this report.

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