(FRESNO, CA) — Concerned that deeper state budget cuts will further compromise the quality of their children’s future, a group of Fresno parents and grandparents today brought dozens of children to Sen. Tom Berryhill’s doorstep along with an urgent message: “Stand up for our children’s future — stop the cuts!”
“Every child has different needs, and it’s up to us to make sure our schools have the resources to do the best for each one,” said Thresa Ward, a Fresno grandparent of three. “My grandkids deserve better than to be packed into classrooms like sardines. But that’s the direction California is headed if we don’t stop the cuts right now.”
In a news conference in front of Berryhill’s office, the group of concerned Fresno County residents detailed the devastating impact budget cuts already made have had on our children and their future. Cuts made over the last three years have already reduced each K-12 student’s support by more than $1000 annually. 19,000 California teachers have received pink slips.
With this damage already done, the group that gathered at Berryhill’s office today called on the Senator to support maintaining existing revenues in order to stop the cuts. Under the all-cuts budget some Valley legislators prefer, things will get even worse; Fresno county schools could experience another $139 million hit next year. If existing revenues are not maintained, tens of thousands of teachers who received layoff notices may be fired, and some districts may be forced to cut short their school year by up to 30 days.
“Our kids didn’t create the budget mess in Sacramento, but they’ve sure been paying for it. Classes are bigger, so it’s harder for them to learn. Music, sports, and extra-curricular activities have been cut, so their educational experience is not well-rounded,” said Grace Solis, another area grandparent. “As bad as these cuts are, if Senator Berryhill stands by and lets critical funding for our schools expire, these cuts will grow even worse.”