Tens of thousands of teachers across California will face unemployment this year as the state continues to struggle to pay its bills. In a press release on Monday, State Superintendent of Public Education Jack O’Connell said, “To date, 21,905 pink slips have been issued to teachers and other staff around the state this year. While I understand the Governor and the Legislature have tough decisions to make, these budget cuts are devastating our schools and impacting our ability to do the most important job in our society, that is, to teach our children.”
At the same time, some officials in Sacramento continue to campaign for an $11.14 billion water bond that will be on the ballot in November. The bond, filled with unnecessary expenses and $3 billion for costly dams that cannot produce any water in dry years, will burden California with debt when the state can least afford it.
The connection between the increasing budget cuts and the potential water bond debt wasn’t lost on Jeffrey Michael, Director of the Business Forecasting Center at the Eberhardt School of Business at University of the Pacific. Writing in Valley Economy, he notes, “As a point of comparison, the $800 million annual tab for the water bond is more than the entire annual payroll of San Joaquin County public schools and it’s over 17,000 employees or about 25% of the entire UC system’s state funding… Yesterday’s pink slip announcements are a vivid reminder of the human impact of the choice between futures at the ballot box this fall.”