Superintendent's Office
DR Thomas
Gary Thomas, Ed.D.
County Superintendent

Superintendent's Message

Superintendent's Messages Listing

Uncertainty Looms Over State Budget Situation

When newly elected Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his first budget proposal at the beginning of January, it was widely reported that education funding for kindergarteners to 12th-graders was largely spared. What many of California's residents may not be aware of is that there are plenty of assumptions that will have to happen for that reality to take place.

The sad part is that flat funding is the best-case scenario for K-12 education during the 2011-12 budget cycle. Already, K-12 education funding has absorbed more than $18 billion in cuts statewide over the past three years. That has resulted in some fairly staggering reductions by districts statewide over the past two years, according to a survey done by the California Department of Education. Close of half of the state's districts report reductions in the salaries of teachers and classified staff. Almost one-third of districts have imposed teacher layoffs. Nearly half have reduced the number of counselors, nurses and psychologists. More than one-third of districts have had to increase class sizes.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson calls the current budget situation "a financial emergency" for public schools. The bottom line for K-12 education funding in California: Our per-pupil funding is $2,580 under the national average. That's the biggest disparity it's been over the last 40 years.

Economically, California is not alone in its struggles. With unemployment rates still around 12.4 percent, our state ranks third from the bottom among all 50 states in our country. Our housing market remains in flux following the mortgage meltdown of a couple years ago. Failing to recover from the resulting recession, our state budget situation remains bleak with the prospects of a $28 billion deficit in funding through 2012.

Gov. Brown's proposal to "spare" K-12 education funding depends on voters statewide to extend taxes for five years in a June 2011. That's a big assumption all by itself, but before the public even gets a chance to vote in a special election for the proposal, both houses of the California legislature will have to vote with two-third majorities to get the measure on the ballot. That's another sticky assumption, especially in the fractured politics of our state.

Failing to have the taxes extended would require more cuts to public education. Without the extended taxes, that would result in another $2 billion cut to statewide K-12 funding. That translates to about $330 per average-daily-attendance funding for students in districts statewide.

Districts statewide, not just those in San Bernardino County, will have to make tremendously difficult budget decisions in light of further cuts. Having already absorbed three years of reductions, districts would face the unenviable tasks of cutting even more programs and personnel.

It's ironic that in order to have a vibrant economy, we need a highly educated and highly skilled workforce. With dwindling resources devoted to public education, it will become increasingly more difficult for schools to produce students who will be able to graduate with the skills necessary to meet economic demands.

That's why it is so important that parents not only remain engaged in their children's educations, but become advocates for providing the resources needed to sustain high quality education. This is an issue that transcends politics. It's not only about our children's futures, but the economic well-being of our state. It's not an issue that we can afford to simply stand pat and hope it gets resolved. Everyone has a stake in this process, and it's incumbent upon us to be more proactive than ever in supporting more secure funding for K-12 education.

Superintendent's Message...

County Schools' Successes Highlighted At State Of Education Address

California's Prospects Improve For State Budget

College-, Career-Readiness Key To Regional Future

Families Provide Strong Influence On Learning

New State Budget Changes Way Schools, Districts Are Funded

School Safety Always A Priority For County Schools

Voters Support Public Schools By Passing Prop 30

Record Number Of County Schools Reach State Academic Benchmark

Juvenile Court Schools Programs Receive Honors

County Graduation, Dropout Rates Show Dramatic Improvements

State Budget Situation Remains Bad News For Schools

County Schools Looks To Transform Lives Through Education

County Schools Embarks On Strategic Planning Process

Early Assessment Program Aims To Make Students College-Ready

Classified Employees Of Year Worthy Of Honors

State Of Education Looks To Future

Uncertainty Looms Over State Budget Situation

County Dropout Rate Continues To Decrease

County Students Continue To Make Progress On State Tests

Teachers Of Year At Head Of Class

May Revise By Governor Means More Budget Cuts For Education

Every One Counts In Current State Of Education

State Budget Outlook Still Poor For Schools

Call To Action Targets County Dropout Rates

Take Steps To Make This School Year Healthy

Teachers Of Year Deserve Accolades

County Schools Recognizes Those Who Make Difference

State Budget Passage To Hurt County Schools

County Shines Bright With Golden Bell Awards

State Budget Situation Goes From Bad To Worse

Schools Across County Continue To Show Academic Gains

Honoring County Teachers Of Year

SBCSS Welcomes Dr. Gary Thomas as Superintendent

San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools • 601 North E Street • San Bernardino, California 92415-0020 • Phone: (909) 888-3228
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