With budget talks at a standstill and time running out for a deal, a group of California school superintendents are pressing for a tax vote, saying today that schools will suffer debilitating cuts if tax extensions are not approved in June.
The superintendents told reporters at the Capitol that they have urged Republican lawmakers to accept Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed election on taxes, a major part of his budget plan.
If the measure fails, Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Michael Hanson said, "We will spend the '11-'12 school year decimating, devastating and tearing down programs for students across this entire state."
Republican senators have demanded pension, regulatory and other government changes in their budget negotiations with Brown.
Asked about what kind of budget deal he would support, Jonathan Raymond, superintendent of Sacramento City Unified School District, said, "It isn't our job to come up with a deal. What we're saying is we want these measures on the ballot in June."
The Democratic governor needs at least two Republican votes in each house to reach the two-thirds majority necessary to put taxes on the ballot. Lacking Republican support, Brown is considering alternatives, including a simple majority vote or a November ballot initiative.
Hanson said November is too late, that schools would be devastated by whatever spending reductions Brown proposes in the interim.
"Frankly, November does us very little good," he said.