Campaign: Support Our Schools seeks to increase education funding to bring California schools back to a position of national prominence. California schools are worth it!

Santa Cruz
County Coalition
—Sandra Nichols
Coalition Chair, PVUSD Board Trustee and SCCS Speech and Language Specialist
—Carolyn Savino
President, PVFT/PVUSD
—John Collins
SCCS Board President
—Rhea DeHart
PVUSD Board President
—George Martinez
SCCS Co-President, Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers
—Diane Siri
Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools
—Robin Butterworth
PVUSD/CSEA Representative
—Elsa Silva PVUSD/CSEA past President
—Robert Chacanaca
SCCS/CSEA Representative
—Alan Pagano
SCCS Superintendent
—Rachel Dewey Thorsett
SCCS Board Trustee
—Barry Kirschen
SCCS Co-President, Greater Santa Cruz Federation of Teachers
—Jackie Tuttle
LOSD/CTA Representative
—Cece Pinheiro
SCCS Board Trustee
—Danny RicoPVUSD Student Trustee, Watsonville High School
Districts and enrollment
• PVUSD-Pajaro Valley Unified (19,700)
• SCCS-Santa Cruz City Schools (7,400)
• LOSD-Live Oak Elementary (2,200)
• SCCOE-Santa Cruz County Office of Education (1,000)

"California schools are worth it!"

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Build a Coalition and Support Our Schools

CampaignSOS Button tells the story

CampaignSOS button: Students Win 3-0 Props 74, 75, 76
Buttons recording the results of school-related propositions on California's 2005 special election ballot were passed out during the meeting of the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Governing Board Wednesday, Nov. 9 and at Santa Cruz City Schools the next morning.

Community TV broadcasts forum on Props. 74, 75, 76

Sunday, Nov. 6 — 5:00 pm, Comcast channel 25 and Charter channel 71
Monday, Nov. 7 — 6:00 pm, Comcast channel 26 and Charter channel 72
Assembly member John Laird (right) addresses the public forum. Campaign SOS members are (from left) CSEA/SCCS Rep. Robert Chacanaca, Santa Cruz Fed. of Teachers Pres. George Martinez, SCCS Trustee Cece Pinheiro, SCCS Teacher and PVUSD Trustee Sandra Nichols, CTA/LOSD Rep. Jackie Tuttle, CSEA/PVUSD past Pres. Elsa Silva.

Bavarian Bully attempts to have his cake and eat it, too
— and other names for Schwarzenegger propositions

by Sandra Nichols

You have read a great deal already regarding the special election, especially the three propositions that would negatively impact our public schools. Let's rename the offending measures to drive home what each one represents.

"While schools are trying to eliminate playground bullying, along comes the biggest bully of them all, our governor who wants to strong-arm unions into silence on the political scene."

Proposition 74 shall become "Teachers sentenced to five years of probation." How could this be a good idea? The two-year probation period currently in effect is ample to determine a teacher's skill before granting them job security. As a matter of fact, my administrator friends say they can spot a bad teacher in 10 minutes. Moreover, job security is not a life long employment guarantee. It is the promise of due process in any future firing decision.

Bad teachers are terminated in California, but not indiscriminately at the whim of a single administrator. The system in place today is one that attempts to help teachers develop awareness of any deficiency and become more skillful. It assumes that those who have put themselves through extensive preparation programs in college should not be booted out of the profession without a fair chance to succeed. If the teacher fails to improve with assistance, he or she is let go.

Proposition 75 shall be renamed "The Bavarian Bully attempts to have his cake and eat it, too." Yes, the claim of bullying is especially poignant these days. While schools are trying to eliminate playground bullying, along comes the biggest bully of them all, our governor who wants to strong-arm unions into silence on the political scene.

Why do teachers call this a power grab? Because corporations — the big guys — already outspend unions 20 to 1 in political campaigns. Those big-time spenders have the power of the buck. Should the power of working people be further reduced by new regulations?

This is not paycheck protection, folks. It is power protecting itself. Prop. 75 doesn't just threaten teachers' voices in politics. It also impacts firefighters, nurses, police, and other union members. These are your public servants, not villains.

Proposition 76 shall be dubbed "Putting your finger in the dike." Like the story of the little Dutch boy, Prop. 76 looms over us like a crack in the dike. It threatens our public schools with probable funding cuts at the whim of our governor. It eliminates the minimum public school funding guaranteed by voter-approved Prop. 98. In fact a resounding defeat is absolutely required on this measure in order to prevent significant damage to our schools.

Yes, with our vote let's put our fingers in the dike to prevent the inundation of mediocrity that Prop. 76 would rain upon our public schools. But let's not stop there. We need to take a serious look at whether our schools can thrive with the current funding levels. In terms of per-pupil spending, our schools are woefully under-funded compared to the rest of the country. Let's tackle this debacle after defeating these three destructive propositions.

Schwarzenegger's propositions are focus of public forum

APTOS — A coalition of Santa Cruz County educators held a public forum on the future of public education and this year's ballot initiatives in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Aptos High School cafeteria. The forum will be broadcast on Santa Cruz County Community TV; Comcast channel 25 and Charter channel 71 at 7:00 PM on Nov. 7 and 1:00 PM on Nov. 8 special election.

community television covers event
Community Television producer Kim Clark focuses her camera on the panel of educators at the public forum.

Assembly Budget Committee Chairman John Laird was the forum's key note speaker. The group discussed a summary of the propositions that threaten public schools, Schwarzenegger's broken promise to education, the ongoing 27-year crisis in education funding, and the importance of voting in the November 8. Several members of the public joined in the discussion.

CampaignSOS, led by Pajaro Valley Unified School District Trustee Sandra Nichols, includes a student member, superintendents, school board members, and leaders of teacher and classified worker organizations. The coalition was formed in January as a response to the governor's State of the State adddress which brought hightened awareness of his threats to public education. The group has met with state legislators and local media to raise public awareness of the need to increase funding for California public schools.

CampaignSOS Pushes for Better Funding

Santa Cruz County Coalition meets with Assembly Member Simon Salinas

A coalition of Santa Cruz County education leaders meets with District 28 Assembly member Simon Salinas (left) to encourage support for improved funding for California schools .

Campaign: Support Our Schools is a grassroots effort to bring adequate funding back to California public schools. It is in direct response to the broken promises and the threat of additional budget cuts proposed by our governor. With local campaigns springing up throughout California, seeks to bring networking capabilities to these groups, providing support, information, and connectivity.

Districts Come Together
CampaignSOS started in Santa Cruz County with 14 education advocates from three different school districts coming together to lobby state legislators and bring their message to the public. California schools were once the envy of all America but now rank near the bottom in per-pupil-spending and percent of per-capita income devoted to education. We are taking action to remedy this. We are motivated and energized because of our commitment to quality public schools and the future of education in California.

CampaignSOS meets with Budget Committee Chairman

A coalition of Santa Cruz County educators and school employees meets with Assembly Budget Committee Chairman John Laird (left). Read the story in the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian

Use Our Model
Our coalition consists of school board trustees, superintendents, teachers, classified employees, and union leaders. We have developed a persuasive thirty-minute, presentation for legislators, the media and local organizations. We urge you to create a similar coalition, use our model, and take your message directly to your legislators and your community.

At you will find helpful links, talking points, sample agendas, sample letters, a sample school board resolution, and suggestions for visual displays. We have also included step by step instructions on organizing and preparing your group to make an effective presentation.

We should not feel alone in our efforts. No local group working independently can expect to turn this state around in terms of school funding. By using the internet and connecting with others who share our concerns, we can magnify our message and its impact. Yes, it can happen!

This Site  WWW
— Editorials —
Bavarian Bully attempts to have his cake and eat it, too
Broken promises and a dismal future for our schools
Schwarzenegger Budget to the Back of the Class
by Sandra Nichols
Let's avoid the 'robocut'
by Assemblyman John Laird
— Helpful Links —
Sample Packet ACSA/LOGIC
Rand Study (pdf) on California's K-12 Public Schools
NEA Ranks Schools by funding (pdf)
California's 2005 Budget
Legislative Analyst's Office on the 2004-05 Budget Bill
CSEA Schwarzenegger targets pensions...
EdSource School Finance Overview
California Democratic Party: Broken Promises
CFT California Federation of Teachers
CTA California Teachers Association
CSBA California School Boards Association
ACSA Association of Cali-
fornia School Administrators
Text of Proposition 98
CSBA California School Boards Association
Schools RU Online Schools