New Bill Could Force State to Pay Schools
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
A local lawmaker is proposing a measure he says will make education funding a priority.
It would stop the California Legislature from deferring payments to California schools.
Assemblymember Brian Nestande says the state owes schools 10 billion dollars because they keep deferring payments.
He's proposed a constitutional amendment today that would change that.
Schools in the Coachella Valley are struggling to balance their budgets, laying off teachers and cutting classes.
"The game is up, we can no longer do this, it is hurting schools to the point of driving them into bankruptcy," said Assemblymember Nestande.
Nestande wants to prohibit the state legislature from deferring payments to schools.
"If any of us had to say sure I'll pay you Tuesday, don't have the money know, we might be hard pressed at the end of the week to not make our own bills," said Palm Springs Teachers Association president, Beverly Bricker.
Proposition 98 guarantees funding for schools.
"Prop 98 was meant to be a floor, not a ceiling for funding for our students, California now ranks 47th, 48th out of 50 states in per pupil funding," said Bricker.
For years now, the state has been deferring payments.
For Palm Springs Unified it adds up.
"It's millions of dollars, and that's teachers in the classroom that we can't put out there,"said Palm Springs Unified School District board member, Gary Jeandron.
Jeandron says Nestande's bill would protect schools.
"When we have money that's entitled to us and we don't agree to the borrowing, I don't know how else you call it but stealing, this prevents Sacramento from withholding legitimate funds to us that we are entitled to," said Jeandron.
The measure would add a section to the California Constitution regarding public finance and education.
We also contacted the Governor's office, but they said it is their policy to not comment on pending legislation until its on the Governor's desk.