O’Connell: Improved outlook for schools
July 27, 2011
Jack O’Connell, former State Superintendent for Public Instruction, said Tuesday that he believes the future for education in California is improving. [California Watch]
O’Connell, who still maintains a home in San Luis Obispo, made the remarks to a group of about 60 area school officials at the Sacramento County Office of Education. After leaving office in 2010, O’Connell signed on with School Innovations & Advocacy, an education lobbying firm based in Rancho Cordova.
In analyzing the state of education, O’Connell told the group he believes the California economy has turned a corner and that schools will not have to shave off up to seven additional days from their calendars.
“Hopefully with the continuing economic recovery that we’re experiencing, we’ll have enough revenue that we’ll avoid the pulling of that trigger. That’s my hope and my expectation,” said O’Connell.
Although lawmakers gave districts the same amount of funds as last year, the new budget contains the possibility of midyear cuts if the state doesn’t meet its revenue projections. Under the worst circumstances, districts could be forced to grapple with a $248 million cut in school busing funds and shave up to seven days off the school calendar.
O’Connell expressed some disappointment that this year’s budget failed to include taxes to help schools. However, he predicted that education would become a rallying cry for new taxes during the 2012 election, as several education groups have been discussing a push to generate more funds.
“Education is where you hook up your wagon,” O’Connell said.