(Costa Mesa, CA) — Protecting schools and beaches for the next generation is a cause so important it brought together a diverse range of Orange County residents – from surfers to clergy – on Tuesday to deliver a message to Sen. Tom Harman: “Stop the extreme cuts” that threaten our children’s future.
“We are here to pray for Sen. Tom Harman to be the moral leader California needs to protect our children’s future,” said Christian Parra, pastor of Harbor Christian Fellowship in Costa Mesa. “A moral leader remembers that it is our calling to protect the earth we were given for our children, and to protect and educate our children – but these imperatives will be made impossible if Senator Harman stands by while another $10 billion in cuts are made to schools, children’s healthcare, and protection of our natural resources.”
In a news conference in front of Harman’s Costa Mesa office, the group of concerned Orange County residents detailed the devastating impact budget cuts already made have had on our children and their future.
- $18 billion in cuts already made to K-12 education over the last three years. This year, schools have an average $1000 less to educate each student than they did in 2008. 19,000 teachers have already received pink slips and may not return to classrooms this fall.
- One-quarter of California’s state parks are already scheduled for shut down, with the remaining parks, including Orange County’s beaches, at risk in an all-cuts budget scenario.
With this damage already done, the diverse group that gathered at Harman’s office today called on the Senator to support maintaining existing revenues in order to stop the cuts. If he chooses instead to go along with the all-cuts budget advocated by extremists, Orange County schools would lose another $368 million next year. More state parks could face closure across the state.
“Our children didn’t create California’s budget mess, and they shouldn’t have to pay for it with their future,” said Debbie Schroeder, principal of a local elementary school. “Class sizes are growing and support for our kids outside the classroom is diminished. We’ve got to stop the extreme cuts, and we’re here to ask Sen. Tom Harman to be the leader who will stand up for our kids.”
“California’s parks and beaches are public treasures that must be protected and managed to ensure they are open to all our children and grandchildren, not turned over to the highest bidder” said Shawn Wehan, lifetime Orange County surfer. “We’re asking Sen. Tom Harman to join surfers and everyone who wants clean, accessible beaches for our children to Stand up for California by maintaining the existing revenue we need to avoid more park closures.”