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October 17, 2005

Public forum Oct. 25 to look at education and state funding

By Jennifer McNulty

The community is invited to attend a free public forum about the state budget crisis and its long-term impact on funding for education on Tuesday, October 25, at 4:30 p.m. in the Merrill Cultural Center at UCSC.

Santa Cruz Superintendent of Schools Diane Siri will be joined by three panelists for the event, "Books, Budgets, Buildings: State Fiscal Crisis and Educational Equity in California." The forum is being hosted by UCSC's Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community (CJTC).

"We want to bring together local educators, administrators, students, and community members to talk about education, funding, and equity," said CJTC codirector Manuel Pastor, a professor of Latin American and Latino studies. "Major policy changes for education are on the ballot in the upcoming special election, but we know voters are frustrated by the initiative process. We need events like this to help inform the public about the broader issues and to develop strategies for long-term involvement."

In addition to Siri, participants will be:

Jean Ross, founder and executive director of the California Budget Project, which works to improve public policies that affect the economic and social well being of low- and middle-income Californians;

Richard Raya, senior associate at Policy Link, who will discuss school overcrowding and make recommendations for more equitable distribution of school construction funds;

John Rogers, associate director of UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA), who will discuss efforts to make schools places of equal opportunity and democratic life.

Free parking permits for the event will be available from parking attendants at Merrill College. For questions or disability-related needs, please call (831) 459-5743 or e-mail


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