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March 27, 2006

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Sarah Mason at (916) 651-4011


SACRAMENTO – State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), a member of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education, today proposed an additional allocation of $500 million from the current year budget to serve as a good-faith down payment on paying back money the state borrowed from schools in 2004-2005.  Simitian’s motion was approved today by the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education by a 2-0 vote with one member abstaining. 

“The suspension of Proposition 98 by the state was a mistake, and we need to correct it,” said Simitian.  “The current generation of students can’t afford to wait.  I support a half billion dollar repayment this year, and a real commitment to make good on what’s owed in a timely fashion.  We need to do right by our kids and we need to do it now,” Simitian said.

The committee acted on a proposal by President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) for a multi-year plan to repay fully the approximately $3 billion owed schools beyond the $500 million allocation and the $1.7 billion proposed in the governor’s 2006-2007 budget.

“If we want to ensure students in our community colleges and K-12 schools have access to the best education possible, we need to turn rhetoric into reality,” Perata said. “By putting the $500 million down payment in the budget and approving an accompanying repayment plan, the Senate will be keeping the state’s promise to students and schools and will be taking a major step toward adequate and stable funding for K-12 and community colleges.”

Simitian was one of a handful of legislators who voted against suspending Proposition 98 funding in the 2004-2005 budget.

In addition to serving on the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education, Simitian sits on the Senate Education Committee and chairs the Senate Select Committee on California’s Master Plan for Education.


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