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Letter to Anthony Rendon, California State Capitol Speaker, and Toni G. Atkins, California State Senator - Harder Pushes State Leaders to Reject Budget Cuts Triggering Teacher Layoffs

Letter

Dear Speaker Rendon and Senator Atkins,

Thank you for your leadership taking meaningful actions to help and protect Californians during this pandemic. I write to you today to urge the legislature to reject Governor Newsom's proposed budget cuts and suspend the provision in the Education Code, CA Educ Code § 44955.5 (2019) which would trigger a mid-summer layoff period of our state's educators.

The proposed 8 percent budget cut in funding to the districts' general fund would activate a state law that would put into motion an optional layoff period through the middle of August. The effects of such layoffs would result in larger class sizes, higher teacher-staff-student ratios, and overcrowding -- a contributing factor to the reduction in overall student academic achievement. Suspending this provision has been successfully enacted twice, most recently prior to the 2011-2012 school year. Suspending these layoffs is vitally needed for our students who are relying on teachers, faculty members, and administrators now more than ever before to navigate the unprecedented challenges of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is not the time to add more uncertainty for our students.

It is imperative that we guarantee a stable and effective educational experience for all of our students across the state. Additionally, it remains unclear as to what the reopening of our nation's campuses will look like. Our students and teachers, and administrators will face potential challenges such as staggered start times, smaller class sizes, and extra safety precautions regarding food preparation and transportation when these campuses are reopened. Because of this, we need teachers on hand to ease the transition back to the classroom now more than ever.

It is our job as leaders of this state to ensure that that our students are provided a quality education -- which is why I urge you to suspend the provision in the Education Code which would allow for a mid-summer layoff period if Governor Newsom's proposed cuts are approved. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to your response.


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