Education officials pleaded with Governor Schwarzenegger to spare public schools from midyear budget cuts. On Thursday, the governor unveiled his planned cuts to close a gaping budget deficit. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has more.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: Schwarzenegger didn't spare schools. To close an $11 billion deficit, the governor's asking the legislature to approve a temporary tax increase and cuts.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: The reduction in this year will be a total of $4.5 billion across the variety of different programs. From education to prisons, from health care to social services and so on.
Guzman-Lopez: Half of those cuts would come from this year's public schools budget. If the legislature approves them during a special session this month, State Superintendent Jack O'Connell said the cuts would disrupt students' instruction.
Schwarzenegger's also recommending a $66 million cut to this year's Cal State University budget, and $65 million cut to the much smaller University of California system. UC spokesman Ricardo Vasquez said that belt-tightening will hurt.
Ricard Vasquez: Deeper budget cuts would force the campuses to turn to options such as hiring more lecturers – offering fewer core sections, and larger class sizes, reducing operating hours for libraries, for example.
Guzman-Lopez: Now the politics begins. Powerful education lobbies can call on allies in the Democrat-controlled Assembly and Senate. But Schwarzenegger predicts that legislators will side with him because their re-election campaigns are over and the current financial crisis has policymakers' backs against the wall.