Part of the Bay Area News Group

Dems highlight budget cuts’ impact

By Josh Richman
Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 at 11:08 am in Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly, California State Senate, Fiona Ma, Leland Yee, state budget, Tom Torlakson.

Their caucus having kowtowed to the Republican minority and Gov. Schwarzenegger on much of the budget agreement, Bay Area Legislative Democrats are keeping a busy schedule of complaining about the agreement’s impacts.

Assembly Select Committee on Schools and Community chairman Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, and Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, are holding a hearing this morning in San Francisco, bringing Bay Area school officials, teachers, parents and community members together to talk about the steady decline in state education funding.

“When kids throughout California return to the classroom this fall, they will find fewer teachers, less resources and larger class sizes,” Torklakson, formerly a classroom teacher, said in a news release. “The cuts we make to education on the state level impact every community, every school and every student. It’s important that we know how.”

Among those testifying will be San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia; Mt. Diablo Unified School Board President Gary Eberhart; West Contra Costa Unified School District Associate Superintendent Wendell Greer; United Educators of San Francisco Vice President Linda Plack; 25-year teaching veteran Theresa Jimenez; and United Teachers of Richmond President Pixie Hayward Schickele.

At the same time three miles away, state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, will headline an event announcing his new legislation to restore funding to the state Department of Public Health’s Domestic Violence Program, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger eliminated with a line-item veto.

The program provides funding to 94 domestic violence shelters and centers across the state, and Yee says cutting off the money puts domestic violence victims and their children in danger while increasing the state’s health care and law enforcement costs. Yee’s bill would move $16.3 million from the state’s victim’s compensation fund (which he says has a $136.2 million balance) to the Domestic Violence Program.

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