Will Bigham, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/14/2011 10:26:26 PM PST

Statewide education officials on Wednesday decried “trigger cuts” announced this week to the state’s K-12 school system and said they wanted taxes raised to bolster education funding.

The officials’ comments, in a teleconference with media members, touched on the strategies being contemplated to find new tax revenue.

Several voter initiatives seeking tax increases to fund education could potentially qualify for the ballot in November, said Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction.

Education advocates in coming days and months will analyze the competing measures, “to narrow it down so we’re not offering such a smorgasbord of choices, with the vote being split between measures, and none being successful,” he said.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday ordered $1 billion in midyear cuts to the state budget because tax revenue has been lower than projections contained in the budget.

The cuts to K-12 school districts include $248 million in home-to-school transportation funding and $79.6 million in general funding.

The eight education officials, which consisted largely of representatives from education-related labor unions, spoke Tuesday “united in our deep, deep concern over these harmful cuts,” Torlakson said.

The officials said cuts to home-to-school transportation funding would disproportionately affect poor children who depend on school buses.

“Thousands of children will be forced to walk to school,” said Dave Low, executive director of the Classified School Employees Association.

Said Dean Vogel, president of the California Teachers Association: “Why is it that every time there’s a budget crisis, it’s balanced on the backs of students in this state? When it gets right down to it, it’s unconscionable.”

The cut announced Tuesday was based on a Department of Finance estimate that tax revenue in the fiscal year will be $2.2 billion short of the original projection of $88.4 billion.

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