Top Lawmaker Slams Schwarzenegger For Decision To Withhold Federal Funds From Schools

09/09/2010 06:37 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

House Education and Labor Chair George Miller (D-Calif.) rebuked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Thursday for his "decision to withhold" the $1.2 billion allocated to California schools by the federal jobs bill.

Miller accused Schwarzenegger of "playing politics with schools," putting 16,500 teachers' jobs at risk and jeopardizing the futures of millions of students.

"By withholding $1.2 billion in education funding, the Governor is depriving California students, teachers and aides of critical resources just as they're returning to the classroom," Miller said in a statement. "California's struggling economy needs this money to ensure that our children don't become victims of Wall Street's scandals, and to continue the education reform efforts of President Obama and Secretary Duncan."

Schwarzenegger spokesman Matt Connelly said Thursday that no decision has been made as to whether money for the schools would be withheld.

As Miller -- a longtime leader on national education reform -- called the Governor an "unreliable partner" in the effort to fix the California school system, Schwarzenegger sent a letter to legislative leaders Thursday requesting that they immediately send the state's jobs bill to his desk.

"Since being elected, the Governor has fought to ensure that California receives its fair share of federal dollars, and is pleased that these federal funds will be used to support California's children in the classroom," California Secretary of Education Bonnie Reiss said in a statement from Schwarzenegger's press shop.