FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 12, 2016
CONTACT: Bill Bird @ 916-651-4029
Assembly Committee Hurts Thousands of CA Children
Teacher Layoffs and School District Bankruptcies Loom with Loss of Choice
SACRAMENTO: The Assembly Appropriations Committee took action this week that will throw the educational futures of thousands of children into doubt, and will lead to teacher and school support staff layoffs and school district bankruptcies across California. The decision by committee leadership to hold SB 1432 and not allow it to move forward will put an end to the successful 22-year old District of Choice program that is used by thousands of students.
The District of Choice program fosters public school choice by allowing parents to transfer their children to participating school districts without a transfer agreement. Thousands of children and parents take advantage of choosing the district that fits them best, and numerous school districts across California identify themselves as District of Choice schools.
“The action (or lack thereof) of legislators in Sacramento over the past couple of days stands to be catastrophic for more than 3,500 of our students,” said Bob Taylor, Superintendent of Walnut Valley Unified School District. “These kids are part of our family and part of our culture…ripping them out of their school will be detrimental to their education, their social well-being, and their futures.”
Senator Bob Huff (R-San Dimas) is the author of SB 1432 and a champion of school reform and student choice in schools. He has carried legislation to reauthorize the District of Choice program twice, and introduced SB 1432 earlier this year following a fact-finding report issued by California’s independent Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO). The report found that District of Choice has been overwhelmingly positive for schools and students, as well as districts that lose or gain students through the transfer process. The LAO report recommended that the program not only be extended, but expanded to include more students.
‘The future of nearly 50 school districts have been thrown into doubt and thousands of California children have just been denied the best education we can give to them, and the reason is purely a political one,” said Senator Huff. “District of Choice has been extraordinarily successful, and I cannot understand why the Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee took specific action to hurt our schools and our children.”
Thousands of frustrated California parents who jumped at the opportunity to take advantage of choosing the school that best fits the educational needs of their children are flooding the State Capitol with phone calls, emails and letters.
“The decision to hold this bill is going to hurt my children,” said Cecil Hernandez, a District of Choice father of four at Big Creek Elementary School in Fresno County. “Why is someone playing politics with the education my children receive? As an immigrant to this country, I am saddened that my kids can’t go to a school that suits them best. I thought this was the land of opportunity, not zip codes.”
Senator Huff represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Follow Senator Huff on Twitter at @bobhuff99.