Educators brace for Brown’s budget

Educators attending Governor-elect Jerry Brown's town-hall education discussion Tuesday expressed optimism that the new governor at least understands the education budget crisis, even if it means more cuts to K-12 schools.

I think the governor gets it," said Dick Douglas, superintendent of Beverly Hills Unified School District, adding that a nuts-and-bolts budget conversation is exactly what the education community needs.

"I do think that this is the right way to do it. You get everyone in the room and you lay out the facts, and say, now how do we solve it.' I applaud the efforts to go out and say c'mon, let's sit down collaboratively and figure out a solution."

Brown did not announce any budget solutions Tuesday, but was urged several times to consider raising new revenues - something Brown says voters need to be convinced of doing.

He noted recent polling that reflects a contradiction among the electorate - that a majority of voters don't want cuts to schools, don't want higher taxes, and believe the state's problems can be solved with cutting waste in the system.

Joel Shapiro, superintendent at South Pasadena Unified said voters can't have it both ways.

"There's just no more cuts that can be made without devastating public education," he told Brown. "We are already almost to the point where we cannot serve our students the way they need to be served."

Michael Hulizer, who was representing the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, said afterwards that he is optimistic about the approach Brown appears to be taking.

"I think he's being honest and he's saying we've got to be honest," he continued. "We're probably going to have to take additional cuts. I think we can live with that as long as we're honest with one another about what's been done, where we're at, and what the values are of the people of this state."

Even union leaders appeared to respond favorably.

"We can all be optimistic and all be hopeful," David Sanchez, president of the California Teachers Association, told Cabinet Report. "He's done this before, and he told us to be prepared. It's not going to be pretty, but we understand that. That's a lot better than what we got this last time."

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