State Senator Fran Pavley and Assembly woman Julia Brownley came to answer questions about the current economic cuts plaguing California schools from K-12 to the community colleges, UC, and Cal State systems, Friday April 1 in the Great Hall.
“They’re leaders in terms of advocating for us,” said Joy McCaslin, president of Pierce College.
State Senator Pavley is a former middle school teacher and Assembly woman Brownley is a member of several committees that oversee K-12 and higher education in California.
“Educating the work force for tomorrow is not only in your best interest, it’s in the states best interest,” said Pavley. “Half of California’s budget goes to education; most wouldn’t believe that.”
Recently Gov. Jerry Brown signed off on $400 million in cuts to the California community college system and raised tuition from $26 to $36 per unit. This will cost full-time students $432 plus health, ASO, and parking fees.
Even with the $400 million in cuts to education and tuition hikes, there is still a $12.5 million deficit that could mean addition budget cuts to the K-12, community college, UC, and Cal State systems.
The additional cuts that are looming in the near future include state funded social services, as well as the college system.
“Difficult times have difficult solutions,” said Pavley.
California state law requires a two thirds majority vote in both the assembly and the state senate in order to pass any new taxes.
“When Schwarzenegger was elected governor, he took away a lot of California’s revenue through the vehicle license fee, etc.,” said Pavley. “Then when the global economy took a nose dive it was like the ‘perfect storm.”
Gov. Brown wants a special election to give voters a say on whether or not to extend the tax increases for another five years, which he believes would bring California out of the current economic recession in a balanced way.
“Because of the two thirds [votes needed] we are prone to propositions and ballot box budgeting,” said Brownley. “It’s not a good way to do policy; we have to figure out a better way.
The Associated Students Organization (ASO) has plans for more protests in the works.
“We are trying to get all nine schools in the district to have one big rally,” said Daniel Axelrod, president of the Pierce College ASO.