When we as families have to deal with difficult economic times, we have to find ways to make ends meet. Some of us try cutting out extras like going out to restaurants or buying new clothes. Sometimes we are forced to make deeper sacrifices, such as finding an extra job or taking out a second mortgage. But even in the roughest of times, there are areas of our family budget we consider sacred and try hard not to touch.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed an incredible $4.8 billion in cuts to K-12 education in California in an attempt to help balance the projected $14.5 billion deficit in the State Budget for 2008-09. We sympathize with the Governor. He and the State Legislature face tough choices in order to balance this budget. But we must say to him and to our elected officials; our children’s education is their future, their birthright. We will not…we cannot sacrifice that future in order to balance our state budget.

The Governor has ruled out tax increases that could generate revenue to offset the deficit. These proposed cuts threaten LAUSD and will have a disastrous impact on providing our 700,000 students with the quality education that they deserve. These cuts amount to a $460 million loss in revenues to LAUSD next school year.

The effect of such cuts for LAUSD, which has one of the largest enrollments of English-language learners in the country, could be horrendous. At the very least, they threaten to increase class sizes and reduce per-student spending. It is the equivalent of shutting down 22 high schools, or closing all LAUSD schools and offices for 12 days, or aying off 5,750 district employees, or dramatically reducing pay or benefits.

The proposed $4.8 billion in cuts in education funding are unacceptable. LAUSD has joined with a coalition of stakeholder groups like California State PTA to offer solutions that protect our children. We will not shoulder cuts without a fight.

All voices matter. To learn more about what the budget crisis could mean to our children and what you can do to help, www. LAStudentsCount.org contains the latest news on the issue and links to our partner Web sites such as The Education Coalition at www.protectourschools.org.
The quality of children’s education is simply non-negotiable and should be considered sacred, not a tool in balancing the State’s budget. The success of future generations is at stake.