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Education Groups Fear Looming Budget Cuts

Educators say if Governor Davis and state lawmakers want to cut $1.9 billion from education spending – they´ll have a hard time doing that in the middle of a budget year.

California public schools got $46 billion in the current fiscal year, covering education from kindergarten to community college. Of that, the Legislative Analyst´s Office says $1.9 billion is above the total guaranteed by Proposition 98.

Education groups fear that will be part of the at least $5 billion in current-year spending cuts Davis plans to propose Friday.

Education groups say school districts signed contracts for teachers and text book purchases that legally bind them for the entire year so that money isn´t available to cut.

A spokesman for the California Association of School Business Officials says that makes extracurricular activities — such as sports, music, libraries and after-school programs — the likely targets for cuts.

Spokesman Kevin Gordon says cuts in those areas won´t add up to $1.9 billion.