State schools superintendent rallies school leaders to oppose cuts

During a town hall meeting in Pasadena today, L.A. County school district leaders warned that students would bear the brunt of budget cuts proposed by Sacramento lawmakers. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has the story.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: State Schools Superintendent Jack O'Connell told school district superintendents and school board members that planned multi-billion dollar cuts would launch some unwelcome changes.

Superintendent Jack O'Connell: The proposal to reduce the school year, the learning opportunities for our students, by five days, I believe needs to be rejected.

Guzman-Lopez: O'Connell said that students in some industrialized countries are ahead of California students, because their academic year is 40 days longer.

Bob Bruesh, who's on the board of the Garvey School District in Rosemead, said that his students need access to computer technology, and that budget cuts would slow that effort.

Bob Bruesh: We are faced, in the near future, with an extremely large technology gap between rich and poor school districts. We're looking at each of our schools costing us upwards of $800 thousand per school to redo the electricity, just so they can use the technology.

Guzman-Lopez: Maureen Carlson is part of a foundation that raised $9 million this year for Pasadena Unified. She doesn't think there's enough public outcry to convince lawmakers to spare schools from the budget ax.

Maureen Carlson: There's a collection of the population that doesn't see care of the schools as their personal responsibility.

Guzman-Lopez: Carlson and others at the town hall meeting urged lawmakers to lower the percentage of votes required to pass municipal parcel taxes. That would make it easier for cities to raise money for schools, they argued.

School district superintendents plan a rally on the steps of the state capitol next week to oppose education budget cuts.