Video: Students Tell Gov. Brown His ‘Budget Blows’

As schools across the state face budget cuts year after year, students and community members used an unusual medium to send a symbolic message.

Hundreds of bubbles floated out into Jefferson Avenue and streets across Redwood City Thursday morning as to tell Governor Jerry Brown this his budget was not adequately funding their schools.

“The school’s not getting enough money for all the fun stuff for students, like field trips and science,” said Roy Cloud student Anastasia Lubarsky, 8. “And Governor Brown isn’t getting this message.”

Bubble-blowing rallies at nine schools—Clifford Elementary School, Orion Elementary School, Roy Cloud School, North Star Academy, Selby Lane Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary School, Adelante Spanish Immersion School, Kennedy Middle School and John Gill Elementary School—drew attention to the problem of continuously slashed funding for public schools, especially ones in Redwood City because it is a revenue-limit district. This means it relies heavily on state funding because property taxes alone do not fund the state minimum per student.

To return the cuts made at the beginning of the school year, Gov. Brown is relying heavily on voters to pass tax measures in November.  

However, school districts must draft budgets by June, without knowing whether or not they can bank on the potential funding from the tax measures.

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Jack Hickey March 16, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Organizing students to engage in such large scale political activity while the District has a Parcel Tax on the June ballot is inappropriate and might actually constitute misappropriation of public funds, a felony. See: http://pawmeister.com/
Buck Shaw March 16, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Perhaps funding can be obtained by droping some state funding of social services. This could be sent to schools instead.
Steve Hayes March 16, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Did you bother to read about the target of the protest? If you are serious please take your concern to the DA, I am sure they would enjoy a good laugh. I would be more concerned if the kids had tried to sell lemonade.
Jack Hickey March 16, 2012 at 03:43 PM
This type of activity is inappropriate even if the "target of the protest" is the governor's budget. I see the protest as a "cluster bomb" with multiple strategic targets. The taxpayer is the ultimate target. I will invite the DA and the FPPC to have a look-see.
Mecala March 16, 2012 at 05:28 PM
All nine rallies that took place yesterday in Redwood City were organized by Educate Our State, http://www.educateourstate.org/this_budget_blows a parent-led, statewide grassroots organization that supports K-12 public education in California. All rallies took place either before school started or after school ended and the rallies took place in front of the schools, not on school property. All children and parents who participated in the rallies chose to do so on their own accord because they care. None of the rallies were sponsored by the district or any individual school, nor were any public funds used to promote these rallies. This was just kids, parents, and teachers coming together to demonstrate and to voice their concerns about the budget. They did this on their own time and on their own dime. I commend everyone who rallied yesterday. Sacramento needs to hear their concerns and Do The Right Thing which is to FULLY FUND EDUCATION NOW. Our schools can't afford anymore cutbacks or uncertainty and California's future can't afford anymore setbacks. Mary Askins Roy Cloud Parent Educate Our State Parent Volunteer Redwood City Rally Organizer
Jack Hickey March 16, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Mary, I visited your website, and applaud the efforts of your organization. If you visited my website http://pawmeister.com/ you would understand my concern. I am of the opinion that real choice is the solution to our education problem. Real choice suffers when our government schools are overfunded to the detriment of alternative education providers. I would suggest that your organization focus on vountary support through fund raising or a parcel tax with all-inclusive exemptions which I have promoted. Those who support additional funding for the schools might be encouraged to add more to their tax bills. Those who are borderline, will likely not bother to file for exemptions. Many will just forget to file exemptions. It's probably too much to ask that you also consider my other proposals to effect real choice, but I'll ask anyhow. Please visit www.pave2010.com for information regarding my proposed Performance and Accountability Voucher for Education. I also support property tax credits for education. And, you might look at the devastating effect of compulsory attendance on operational efficiency and results.
John Foley March 17, 2012 at 05:13 AM
Defeat the coming June parcel tax. More money given to RCSD without personnel cleansing at the district office will be wasted AS usual.. Don't drink the koolaid.
Maria Santos March 17, 2012 at 05:20 AM
I agree with Mr. Hickey, these children were being used as pawns whether or not it was during or not during school time or on or off school property. The children were obviously NOT taught that there were two points of view. Kill the parcel tax.
Stephanie March 17, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Jack, please stop saying that you're a Libertarian. You give us other, REAL Libertarians a bad name. You're right-wing and socially conservative - everything a Libertarian is not. Go join the Tea Party.
Morgan Richardson March 22, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Jack is correct...interesting that Stephanie wishes to control what label Jack chooses to give himself...smacks of classic socialist, Steph! The waste in the schools is frightening. Has anyone bothered to see what the district secretaries and administrators make? Don't forget to look into special packages they give themselves that are not reflected on the official website. The latest news about "investigating" accused aides/teachers is just the tip of the ugly iceberg of what has been going on for years against good people. For this reason alone, until there are changes at human resources, I will vote No on the parcel or any school tax.
Juan Melendez March 22, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Making children do political issues is sad and just lost my vote.
Steve Hayes March 22, 2012 at 06:37 PM
More than 70% of the electorate up and down the Peninsula support these school parcel taxes. Practically every community in San Mateo County has passed a parcel tax recently recently, except for Redwood City. The fact is that State Budget problems (caused by recession and falling property values) have caused education funding to decline. The Need is real The key thing is to get all of the supporters to vote.
Jack Hickey March 22, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Redwood City voters provide a prime example of how to "Just say NO". Be proud! Unsustainable retirement benefits brokered by the unions are a major cause of the budget problems of all the bloated government agencies. While the kids are blowing bubbles, these agencies should "suck it up" and just say NO to the unions.
Steve Hayes March 22, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Actually 64% of RWC voters voted for the parcel tax in 2009 - so the great majority of RWC voters recognized the need and supported the request. Funding is worse now than it was in 2009 so the need is more obvious. Jack H said "Unsustainable retirement benefits brokered by the unions are a major cause of the budget problems of all the bloated government agencies. " This election is not about teacher's pensions and unions - it is all about making up for the state funding cuts.
Jack Hickey March 23, 2012 at 01:26 AM
In 2009, 7300 yes votes were cast for the RCSD parcel tax. As of March 19, 2012, there are 40,544 registered voters in the District. If you can convince those 7300 to vote yes again, you will have at least 18% of the vote. Pusuading people to abstain from voting would improve your chances. I suggested a way to do that. Provide an exemption for anyone who wants it. There would have been more than enough homeowners not choosing to file an exemption to raise the money the District seeks, and more. The District rejected the idea, and instead offered the exemption to Seniors AND "disabled persons". How demeaning.
Steve Hayes March 23, 2012 at 02:02 AM
"How demeaning." Why is that demeaning - just because you did not get your way? Every school district does the same thing - they all give an exemption to Seniors. And by the way if 7,300 (as you reported) voted yes in 2009 that means only about 4,100 voted against it.
Starchild March 23, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Stephanie -- Objecting to government school students being used to promote more government spending seems pretty libertarian to me. Am I missing something? Steve -- What's wrong with kids selling lemonade?
Starchild March 23, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Or they could cut the salaries and benefits of government officials and employees who receive more compensation than people doing similar work in the voluntary sector. Or they could cut back on education administration and put more resources into the classroom. There are plenty of things they can do without sticking it to the public by raising taxes again.
Starchild March 23, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Steve - Government spending and government debt in this country are also more out of control than they were in 2009, and were more out of control then, than they were three years before that, and so on -- so the need to resist even more tax and spending increases is more obvious now. Look at the details of government spending on educational administrators, sweetheart union contracts, etc., and you'll find plenty of room to make cuts that can be used to fund more money going to classrooms, without sticking it to the public with higher taxes. Is it fair that poor people, or people who own property but are on fixed low incomes, should be forced to subsidize the education of wealthy people who choose to send their kids to government schools? I don't think so.
Lois Garcia March 23, 2012 at 04:23 AM
There is already an overabundance of money in local government budgets. The problem is its allocation. If your elected officials do not spend your money appropriately, vote differently. See past Measures C, A and H for the San Mateo Community College District for a great example of $675 million dollars in taxes for "education", none of which went to the students or teachers. February 2012 San Jose Mercury News: "Three months after Redwood City residents approved tax measures deemed by city officials as critical to maintaining essential services, the city council will vote Monday on recommended raises for two high-profile employees." (These raises were approved.) "The two city employees are not the only ones in line to get a bigger paycheck. Salary increases were given to most of Redwood City's employees..." While some people get raises out of taxpayer money, those same taxpayers are losing their jobs, and on top of that, you want to raise taxes? From the Redwood City 2010-2012 Adopted Budget: "Locally, evidence of the recession has been confirmed by a decrease in the number of San Mateo County residents holding jobs and increasing commercial office vacancy rates." "The unemployment rate in San Mateo County has increased from 8.3% in March 2009 to 9.8% in March 2010." "Santa Clara County’s unemployment rate has also increased from 10.8% in March 2009 to 12% in March 2010."


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