On Friday, October 8, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the final California State Budget bill passed by the Legislature (SB 870). However, he line item vetoed $962 million of additional cuts from the measure, including all $132.9 million of funding to reimburse counties for their non-reimbursed costs from 2004-05 through 2008-09 for complying with the AB 3632 mandate (Handicapped and Disabled Students I and II, and Seriously Emotionally Disturbed Pupils: Out of State Mental Health Services). In doing so, he also declared that the mandate on counties for the 2010-11 fiscal year is suspended.
In one swipe of his pen all special services to virtually all disabled children, in the past present and future, were gone. In doing so, he also violated Federal Law protecting this group of students being denied services they require to receive and benefit from public education.
California is a seething cauldron of misguided activities and expenditures, but this veto has to lead the parade. Further, the state already runs huge budgetary deficits. Last year and the preceding year, $20 billion and this year $12 billion, no one believing this latter figure. It's not that $132 million is pocket change, but compared to the California Budget ($86.6 billion), it is nothing. It's barely 0.16 percent. Hence, on the backs of our special needs children, a pathetic and hardly worthwhile attempt to save State Money is being carried out.
California is famous for lows. This veto has to be the lowest the State has ever sunk to.