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Brown Visits PTA Convention, Pitches Plan for State Ballot Measure to Prevent Further Cuts to Education

May 5, 2011

Governor Jerry Brown spoke at the 112th Annual California State PTA Convention last Thursday in Long Beach, giving a 20-minute speech that included another pitch for a statewide election to give voters a choice on extending certain sales and income taxes, rather than impose an “all-cuts” budget that would mean further reductions in funding for education.

"Schools are the future, and you are the voice of those schools, so we've got to hear from you. You have the credibility," Brown told the PTA convention delegates.

Brown told the PTA conventioneers that he was their ally in the battle to protect education funding in the ongoing struggle over the state budget. "It's going to have to be the voice of the parents and teachers and yes, even the school students themselves to awaken the conscience of California to our true path forward, which is to invest in the future and not steal from it," he said. "That's really what's at stake here."

A statewide ballot measure on the tax renewals was critical to the state's future, he said, and he added that such a decision belongs to the voters, and isn't one that state lawmakers should make "in the dark of night in Sacramento."

"It's a choice that the people have a right to make. You can't tell the people of California, 'Shut up, we don't want to hear from you,'" he said.

In recent weeks, some Democratic legislative leaders have edged away from the idea of a statewide election, which at this point would have to be scheduled sometime in the fall. Republican legislative leaders have steadfastly opposed the idea of any extension of taxes or new taxes. However, recent polls have shown broad support among California voters for Brown’s idea of a statewide ballot measure giving voters the option to extend sales and income taxes.

To hear the governor’s complete remarks to the PTA convention, click here.

Jo A.S. Loss, president of the California State PTA, said the association's members clearly support protecting education funding.

"Our nearly 1 million members have said loudly and clearly that adequate school funding is their top priority," Loss said. "They are deeply concerned about the massive budget cuts that education and children's programs have already absorbed in the past few years. We will continue speaking up for a balanced budget solution that will prevent deeper cuts that would affect children."

The PTA has been focused on raising awareness about the devastating impact of state budget cuts on children. The association recently launched a "Cut$ Hurt Kids" campaign, supported by a Facebook page. Thousands of PTA members have already contacted legislators urging them to reject an all-cuts budget and to protect funding for education and other crucial children's services.

Source:  California State PTA, EdBrief staff.