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Business Leaders and Coalition for Local Control of School Spending Urge Legislature to Give School Districts Flexibility.

News Editors/Education Writers

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 2, 2003

As several state leaders are calling for tax increases to maintain education spending, the state's two most prominent business advocacy associations today called for the repeal of Senate Bill 1419, saying that California schools could avoid new taxes and classroom cuts if districts were allowed to maximize financial efficiency. The California Chamber of Commerce and California Business Roundtable, both members of the Coalition for Local Control of School Spending, say school districts could collectively save millions of dollars annually if districts could seek the best price for non-instructional services.

"Right now, districts throughout California are sending pink slips to 30,000 teachers, while the Legislature has passed bills like Senate Bill 1419 that prevent schools from saving money outside of the classroom," said Allan Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce. "The California Chamber of Commerce has supported investment in our schools - but we should also look at other ways that districts can cut costs, and the repeal of SB 1419 is a giant step in the right direction."

The California Chamber of Commerce and California Business Roundtable have joined the Coalition for Local Control of School Spending, which includes several school districts and statewide education leaders that are opposed to SB 1419, including the California School Boards Association, the Association of California School Administrators, the California Association of School Business Officials, School Services of California, Inc. and California County Superintendents Educational Services Association. The coalition is demanding that legislators repeal SB 1419 - which restricts districts from seeking the best price for non-instructional services. Assemblyman John Benoit - a former School Board member - has introduced Assembly Bill 1646 that would repeal SB 1419.

"In these tough economic times, businesses and average citizens are cutting back their budgets," said Bill Hauck, president of the California Business Roundtable. "At the same time, we must ensure that schools have the ability to spend the funds they have most efficiently. Education experts have estimated that schools could save 10 to 40 percent on non-educational services if SB 1419 was repealed, but their hands are tied."

"Districts need the ability to find the best price on non-educational services like transportation and maintenance, minimizing the need for massive teacher layoffs or education cuts," said Kevin Gordon, Executive Director of the California Association of School Business Officials. "SB 1419 is a giant road block in that process."
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Apr 2, 2003
Words:401
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