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California education leaders told to brace for big budget cuts
REPORTING FROM SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told education leaders this morning that he will push for a tax hike and deep cuts to schools to help close the state's yawning budget gap, according to several participants in the meeting.
The news, delivered in a conference room outside the governor's office, came as a shock to the educators, who were told to prepare for immediate cuts in the range of $2 billion to $4 billion.
"There is just no way we would be able to cut that much," said Scott Plotkin, executive director of the California School Boards Assn., who was at the meeting. "For virtually every district I know of, this would be catastrophic."
Administration officials confirmed that the meeting took place but refused to discuss details.
Several educators who were present said the governor stated clearly that he would renew his push for a sales tax hike in the special legislative session scheduled to begin next week. The governor unsuccessfully championed a temporary increase in sales taxes during the summer budget debate.
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