March 11, 2011
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson to Districts: Plan for the Worst
Superintendent Seeks to Gauge Impact of $4.5 Billion in School Cuts
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is warning school districts to plan for the worst and took steps to tally the impacts on California schools if the state's temporary taxes expire July 1.
"Californians cherish their schools," Torlakson said. "Before we miss the chance to help our state's 6.2 million schoolchildren weather this financial emergency, people have a right to know the consequences."
In a letter to county school superintendents, Torlakson noted that time is running dangerously short to place a tax extension before voters.
Torlakson warned that without an extension, an "all-cuts" budget could force the state to cut school spending by as much as $4.5 billion or 10 percent of the K-12 annual budget. He urged officials to assess the impacts now.
The letter comes two months after Torlakson declared a state of financial emergency in California's schools, which have endured $18 billion in cuts over the last three years, equivalent to about one third of the state's annual spending on K-12 schools each year.