The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

No money for schools?
It’s all going to big business

Mar 18, 2002

Last month, California Governor Gray Davis, a Democrat, announced that he was cutting funding for education by 843 million dollars. Much-needed school maintenance and renovation projects will be abandoned, classes will be cancelled, nursing and counseling positions will be eliminated, class sizes will increase further. Needless to say, schools in working-class districts will be hit hardest.

Of course, Davis and the rest of the politicians and state officials say that they have no choice, that these cuts are due to a 12.5 billion dollar deficit for the state. They go on to blame this deficit on the recession, the impact on the economy of September 11, etc.

What a story! You would think that the state was about to run out of money, and the politicians were busy cutting spending across the board.

Of course, none of this is true. On the contrary, tucked into the California state budget are billions of extra dollars in spending on electricity, money that is going directly into the profits and bank accounts of the big power companies, electric utilities and power brokers.

That’s right. The very same companies – with Enron leading the pack – that engineered the big supposed “power crisis” last year are now being rewarded for their fake crisis with taxpayers’ dollars. Last spring, in the middle of the state’s supposed “energy crisis,” Governor Davis secretly signed long-term contracts with the electricity companies. These contracts meant that the state is now paying 88 dollars per megawatt-hour, or three times more on average than the current rate. Not only that, but the state is also buying more electricity than it can use and paying companies whether they provide power or not.

These contracts are not just for a few months. No, many of them extend for 20 years or more!

What a scam!

No, Davis and the rest of the politicians are not cutting public education, as well as other social services for the working class, because the state government is running out of money. No, they are cutting education because they have other priorities. Their priorities are first and always to boost the profits of the big capitalists.