Governor doesn't spare schools in budget cuts

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.