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Got the Monday blues? Start your week off right with a helping of useful information and informed opinion. 

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For the Week of May 16, 2011
texbooks not taxbreaks

Thousands of California school teachers and other public workers rallied last week in San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego and other cities, to send a message that more cuts will severely damage the state’s educational system.

Unprecedented UC budget cuts and additional fee increases – by as much as 40% – will be considered as a “Plan B” at the May 18 Regents meeting in case an all-cuts state budget becomes a reality. UC is already making changes that include eliminating and consolidating programs, “cutting back service hours, implementing thousands of layoffs, and leaving thousands more positions unfilled.”

CSU is also making contingency plans to increase tuition up to 32%, which could lead to turning away 20,000 qualified applicants in “the worst-case scenario.”

California governor Jerry Brown released his revised budget today, which includes a combination of tax increases and service cuts. The governor and legislature have until June 15 to agree on a budget.

Brown’s plan is at odds with that of state Republicans released last week that would not raise taxes and avoid further cuts to higher education, but at the cost of “deeper cuts to services ... and a 10 percent cut in state employee compensation.”

In the meanwhile, 12 business groups presented a compromise, urging the governor and legislature to agree to “an honest budget plan by June 15th, along with a structural reform plan that puts California back on the right track.” Their “workout plan” would require Republicans to accept tax extensions and Democrats to reform pensions and control spending.

Unions representing 45,000 Connecticut state workers have reached a tentative four-year deal that guarantees no layoffs – and reverses ones already made -- while saving the state $1.6 billion.

And in spite of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s attacks on public-sector workers, faculty members at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Green Bay is the seventh University of Wisconsin campus at which faculty has chosen union representation since academic staff won collective bargaining rights in 2009. ____________________________________________________________________________________

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