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State, County and District School Chiefs Unite to Support Prop. 30

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Torlakson, Delgado, Deasy Lead Coalition to Prevent Further Cuts to Schools

CERRITOS -- State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Los Angeles County Superintendent Art Delgado and Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy today joined school superintendents from throughout Southern California in urging Californians to prevent further education cuts by supporting Proposition 30.

“We’re here because California’s schools are in a state of financial emergency – and we need every Californian to come to their aid,” Torlakson said. “Today, we stand together as education leaders and say with one, united voice: `Stop the cuts to education – vote yes on 30.’ ”

Superintendents from more than a dozen school systems across the region – including Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties – discussed the huge toll $20 billion in cuts to school budgets in recent years have already taken – and the further harm that would take place unless voters approve Prop. 30 and prevent $5.4 billion in additional cuts this school year.

“If Prop. 30 fails, it will be a disaster for the Los Angeles Unified School District,” Deasy said. “We would be threatened with having to close the school year three weeks early, which would have a tremendously negative impact on all our students.”

Los Angeles County Superintendent Delgado agreed, adding: “Voters have a clear choice this November on whether to invest in our California children or to continue the current trend of the underfunding of our schools that now puts our state among the lowest in the nation in funding support of our education system.”

"These are unprecedented times for education in California. At no time in history have we had such high expectations for our schools and students with diminishing resources to meet them,” said ABC Unified Superintendent Mary Sieu. “Our District has cut $30 million in the past four years. There's no doubt that an immediate investment in education is necessary to prevent more harm to the next generation of students."

“My concern is for the future of our children as well as the future of California. Without proper funding to ensure college and career readiness for our students, they will be less competitive in the job market and in university placement,” said Sandra Thorstenson, Superintendent of the Whittier Union High School District. “If Prop 30 does not pass it will create a $5 billion hole in the public education budget on top of the draconian cuts schools have endured since 2008. This would have an unconscionable impact on our children and on our society.”

Also Joining Torlakson and others at the news conference were:

• Chaffey Joint Union High School District Superintendent Mat Holton
• Lynwood Unified School District Superintendent Edward Velasquez
• Montebello Unified School District Superintendent Robert Henke
• Romoland School District Superintendent Anthony Rosilez
• Saddleback Valley Unified School District Superintendent Clint Harwick
• San Bernardino City Unified School District Superintendent Dale Marsden
• Val Verde Unified School District Superintendent Juan Lopez
• Kent Taylor, State Administrator, Inglewood Unified School District
• Josh Pechthalt, President, California Federation of Teachers
• ABC Unified School Board President Olympia Chen

Torlakson said that California’s schools have earned a vote of confidence. He noted that despite the ongoing effects of massive funding reductions, graduation rates and test scores are on the rise. And for the first time, a majority of public schools have reached or exceeded the state’s academic performance goals.

Supporters of the measure noted that with the passage of Proposition 30, we will begin to restore our ability to give every student the finest education possible. Through a modest tax increase on the wealthiest Californians, and a very small increase in the state sales tax, Proposition 30 will ask the people who can best afford to invest in our future to do so, in order that all may benefit.

Torlakson added that schools across the state are engaged in ongoing efforts to improve technology, teaching methods, and help more children graduate ready for college and a career.

“There’s much more to do,” Torlakson said. “And California’s schools – and the dedicated teachers, school employees and administrators who have made them their life’s work – are eager to take on these challenges. But they cannot do this alone.”

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