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Dear Public Education Supporter,
At the end of this very tumultuous school year, Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS) would like to thank you for working with us to keep the protection of public education a top community priority.  In addition, we would like to share some important news with you.
California’s historic on-time State Budget passage in June left the future of public education funding filled with uncertainty.  With deep cuts to early childhood and post-secondary education, this budget funded K-12 public schools at the same level as the 2010 – 2011 school year, but ONLY IF $4 billion of revenue increases materialize.  If not, pre-set “triggers” will be activated, potentially prompting mid-year cuts to public education of up to $1.9 billion statewide, leaving SMMUSD with about $3,600,000 less in State funding for 2011-2012.  As a result, SMMUSD would be forced  to dig deeply into its reserves, leaving the outlook for the 2012-13 school year bleak once more.
As we look back over the last year and beyond, we realize how far we’ve come since our inception over a decade ago.  Education advocates have worked hard to inform voters about our excellent public schools and to help shine a light on the critical inadequacy of State funding for education.
In partnership with a broad coalition of community members, CEPS helped pass City of Santa Monica Propositions Y + YY in November 2010, and actively monitored the process by which the City of Santa Monica worked with SMMUSD to craft the new joint use agreement that provides the transfer of revenues to the School District.  CEPS Steering Committee Members Shari Davis and Tom Larmore co-chaired the Yes on Y + YY campaign committee, with many more CEPS members working on the committee to pass the measure.
     Result: $5.7 million per year will be generated for our local schools          ($1 million already designated for 2010-11 school year)
CEPS helped pass Measure R in February 2008.
Result: $11 million per year generated for our local schools, with senior homeowners exempted
    CEPS has worked with civic leaders to reinforce the value of maintaining high quality schools and to build toward renewal of the Master Facilities Use Agreement initiated by CEPS in 2004.
    Result: $8 million per year generated with
    renewal expected in 2012.
    In addition, this school year, CEPS actively participated in the 2010 candidate elections, holding candidate forums and community outreach efforts that informed voters about candidates’ views and record on education issues.  CEPS also partnered with SMMUSD to inform the public about the District’s accomplishments and challenges in the fourth annual “State of Our Schools” Event.
    We are proud to announce the return of Shari Davis as Co-Chair of CEPS.  She returns to lead CEPS after an extremely successful and productive two-year term as President of Santa Monica Malibu Council of PTAs.
    With the State of California stuck in a daunting and seemingly endless budget crisis, there is no question that education funding is at risk and will remain so for the foreseeable future. 
    The only true certainty in California’s very unstable public education picture is that our advocacy is needed now more than ever.  CEPS is committed to continuing our work at the local and state levels.   
    To help us focus our advocacy on issues that matter most to you, please take a moment to let us know your thoughts!  PLEASE COMPLETE THIS BRIEF SURVEY.  It will take five minutes or less and will give us important feedback that will help us set our priorities for the coming year.
    Finally, if you haven’t already done so, please renew your membership and consider making an additional financial contribution to CEPS.  Your support makes it possible for Community for Excellent Public Schools to continue its critical advocacy in support of Santa Monica and Malibu’s local public schools. 
    Thank you for making education a priority in your life and striving toward Excellent Public Schools for all children!
    Co-Chairs, Community for Excellent Public Schools

    Keep up on local education issues on the CEPS blog
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