WHO SUPPORTS THE CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS AND BALTIMORE CITY NEO-CONS RUNNING AS DEMOCRATS EACH ELECTION PRIMARY? THE MARYLAND STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (MSEA)
The citizens of Maryland must listen to this back and forth posing from leadership that pretend to be supporting education funding even as they push these pols handing out all corporate tax breaks and subsidy and build corporate school boards in Baltimore City that will be expanded all over Maryland if this platform is allowed to continue.
THE GOAL OF BOTH CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS AND BUSH NEO-CONS IN MARYLAND IS TO END PUBLIC FUNDING OF EDUCATION BY ATTACHING PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO CORPORATIONS IN PRE-K THROUGH COLLEGE VOCATIONAL TRACKING. SO, WHETHER O'MALLEY OR HOGAN---THAT WILL MEAN FUNDING CUTS FOR EDUCATION.
Everyone understands that O'Malley never met the original requirements of the Thornton Formula that sent funds to schools needing the most----yet somehow, O'Malley was always portrayed in the media as a strong public school advocate.
So, the citizens of Baltimore City watch as the TV news shows the same Baltimore pols killing all funding sources for public education lamenting Larry Hogan's cuts to education that hit Baltimore hardest. Baltimore Democrats Maggie McIntosh and Mary Pat Clarke are the face of Johns Hopkins' corporatization of public schools in Baltimore and Maryland yet they feel the pain of the loss of education funding by big bad Republican Larry Hogan.
Maryland governor plays political brinksmanship, withholds school funding
Posted May 27, 2015
by Dmitriy Synkov Education Votes
It’s as if Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is having a tantrum and saying, ‘If we can’t play by my rules, then we won’t play at all.’ Problem is, it’s students and educators who will pay the ultimate price if Hogan continues his political brinkmanship.
The governor has withheld $68 million in school funding for 62 days and counting despite widespread opposition from educators, parents, and elected officials and anticipated class size increases, educator layoffs, and program cuts. Hogan’s latest ploy, proposed this month: take the $68 million budgeted for schools by the state legislature and shift it to the state’s pension system — a plan that has since been found illegal.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. called Hogan’s decision a “declaration of war on the children of the state of Maryland.”
The $68 million comes from the state’s Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI), which is meant to provide additional funding for counties where the cost of delivering education is higher. Gov. Hogan’s actions would fund GCEI at 50% of expected levels, after six straight years of full funding.
“The big issue here is that this would be taking away a significant amount of money from the public school system,” says Stephanie Masters, a kindergarten and third grade special education teacher at Fulton Elementary in Howard County.
“There are a lot of resources that go into educating kids with exceptional needs,” says Masters, who worries how funding shortages will affect special education classrooms. “When we cut staffing and resources because of lack of funding, the kids who need it most are left behind. Any extra programming — whether it’s arts or music programs — are also let go,” she adds.
Betty Weller, middle school English and science teacher and president of the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA), says, “It’s incredibly disappointing that the governor has chosen to withhold funding that is needed today in our schools. For months, local districts have been warning of the consequences—larger class sizes, position reductions, and the elimination of summer school and other critical learning opportunities—and now we’re seeing those cuts come to fruition.”
Thanks to the hard work of the General Assembly and the advocacy of thousands of educators and education champions, the legislature overwhelmingly passed a budget that would have fully funded GCEI and enhanced long-term pension sustainability. The governor inexplicably walked away from that budget, and now he’s walking away from an opportunity to help our students.
If the governor takes no further action, by state law the money will sit, inaccessible and unable to help Maryland schools, until it moves into the state’s reserve fund after June 30, 2016. Wisely, state lawmakers passed a bill on the final day of the state’s legislative session to mandate GCEI funding in future years, hopefully dissuading Hogan from turning school funding into a political football in future years.
As you see below, O'Malley did exactly what Hogan is doing back in 2007, before the economic crash. O'Malley did this because Clinton neo-liberals ignore all Equal Protection laws regarding education for one. O'Malley used school building as an excuse just as Obama used university building as the excuse for ever lower funding of public schools. In both cases the goal with school building has to do with new infrastructure for this transition of school buildings to corporate charter schools/university research facilities. O'Malley spent his entire terms in office building this corporate university structure and then to rebuilding K-12 schools using bond leverage at a time of impending economic crash by imploding bond market. Larry Hogan will do the same thing----because all of this is Republican policy. Hogan has doubled-down on building national charter chains so, defunding public schools is the next step to sending schools into the arms of corporations.
IT IS ALL THE SAME EDUCATION POLICY WITH THE MARYLAND EDUCATION ADVOCATES CRYING FOUL IN ONE CASE AND SUPPORTING THESE CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS DOING THE SAME. PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY AS WITH BALTIMORE CITY POLS ARE THE STRONGEST SUPPORTERS OF THE CLINTON NEO-LIBERAL MACHINES.
Bad News on the Budget From the New Governor
Network News By Nelson Hernandez Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 25, 2007
The $1.66 billion Prince George's County public schools budget may be short nearly $30 million following Gov. Martin O'Malley's announcement last week that he will not recommend funding the Geographic Cost of Education Index this year.
The index, a part of the landmark 2002 Thornton education plan, was not funded under O'Malley's predecessor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. O'Malley (D) has said he would like to fund the index, which would benefit Prince George's and Montgomery counties. But with a $1.3 billion deficit projected for next year, he chose to hold off on the index, saying instead that he would support legislation making the spending mandatory starting in 2009.
As word of O'Malley's decision spread, county schools chief John E. Deasy expressed hope that the county's delegation would be able to change the governor's mind.
"I'm sure that they will fight very hard to support Prince George's schools," Deasy said. Nevertheless, he acknowledged, "it's undeniable reality that this may not happen."
State Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George's) was also disappointed but pragmatic, saying that funding the index, known as the GCEI, could hurt the schools in other areas, such as construction, where O'Malley's budget was comparatively generous.
"I think we'd all like to see the GCEI in the budget and Thornton fully funded," Pinsky said. "I think the fiscal realities, though, make it unlikely that he's going to change his mind."
Pinsky suggested that it would be necessary to change the tax structure or introduce new taxes in order to fund the index quickly.
"We can't say, 'Fund this, fund that' if the money's unavailable," Pinsky said.
Deasy said that he was preparing a revised budget taking the $30 million shortage into account but that it would be premature to say what would be cut.
Some Good Funding News
The news about the geographic index was somewhat offset by the discovery that the county's schools will receive more than $22 million in state and federal aid over what was budgeted.
The aid is designated to support students with limited English proficiency and special education, as well as some general aid, Deasy said.
While the aid will cushion the blow if the index is not funded, Deasy at a budget work session Monday introduced several new expenditures as well.
As I have stated state universities are being made corporate research facilities with a product and patenting that places all the emphasis of university operations on this mission. Obviously, all of this will look just like corporate profit and universities that are not patent product mills will be closed----ergo, arts and humanities colleges and departments. As this article below shows----the goal of Clinton neo-liberals is to end higher education for the public and have Ivy League Universities as the only source of higher education that is broad-based.
Maryland leads the nation in building these structures with Erhlich and O'Malley making these corporate university structures the basis of state education funding. All of Baltimore pols are right there with corporate K-college as they are not concerned at all with dismantling strong public education for all with equal opportunity and access and handing Baltimore students to a vocational tracking K-college. State public universities are the only avenue for most American families in sending their children to university. The US has the best and strongest public university system in the world and it was Clinton who started this corporatized university structure with Obama coming with huge subsidies in building this corporate research as university structure.
Meanwhile, Obama and Clinton neo-liberals are selling the job training as community college structure as a win for low-income students with middle-class falling into this pathway. These global corporate pols are working to end the pathway to 4 year university for 90% of Americans and each time a labor and justice organization supports a Clinton neo-liberal----they know they are killing the union membership's ability to reach higher education.
State Funding: A Race to the Bottom
Thomas G. Mortenson American Council on Education
State appropriations for public higher education have just faced another tough year. And yet, public institutions have faced many such years over the past three decades. Despite steadily growing student demand for higher education since the mid-1970s, state fiscal investment in higher education has been in retreat in the states since about 1980.
In fact, it is headed for zero.
Based on the trends since 1980, average state fiscal support for higher education will reach zero by 2059, although it could happen much sooner in some states and later in others. Public higher education is gradually being privatized.
In this analysis, state fiscal investment in higher education is measured in two ways: first, as a share of all higher education expenditures as counted in the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) of the U.S., and second, as the share of state personal income provided by annual state appropriations for the operations of higher education by Grapevine, an annual compilation of data on state fiscal support for higher education.
The NIPA data count $103.7 billion spent by state and local governments on higher education in 2010. This was 34.1 percent of all federal, state, and local government spending and personal expenditures on higher education in 2010, which totaled $304 billion. The state/local share was down from the peak of 60.3 percent in 1975. The Grapevine data count $76.4 billion for public higher education operations in state fiscal support in fiscal 2011. This was $6.30 per $1,000 of state personal income—down from a peak of $10.58 in fiscal 1976.
The 2011 funding effort was down by 40.2 percent compared with fiscal 1980. Extrapolating that trend, the national average state investment in higher education will reach zero in fiscal 2059. In other words, states are already 40 percent of the way to zero. At this rate of decline, it will take another 48 years to finish off the remaining state support for higher education.
The State Story
States are all over the map on their retreat from higher education. At one extreme are the two states that have managed to maintain their fiscal 1980 investment through 2011: Wyoming (+2.3 percent) and North Dakota (+0.8 percent).
But these are the exceptions. All other states have reduced their support by anywhere from 14.8 percent to 69.4 percent between fiscal 1980 and fiscal 2011. The biggest losers:
- Colorado has reduced its support for higher education by nearly 69.4 percent, from $10.52 in fiscal 1980 (and a peak of $13.85 in fiscal 1971) to $3.22 by fiscal 2011. At this rate of decline Colorado appropriations will reach zero in 2022, 11 years from now. Projections using more recent data find that Colorado could hit zero as soon as 2019.
- South Carolina reduced its state investment effort in higher education by 66.8 percent, from $16.72 in fiscal 1980 (and a peak of $18.19 in fiscal 1975) to $5.54 by fiscal 2011. Extrapolating this trend, state funding for higher education will reach zero in 2031.
- Rhode Island reduced state higher education funding by 62.1 percent between 1980 and 2011, from $9.81 to $3.72. The state effort peaked at $10.35 in fiscal 1981. Extrapolating this trend, state funding for higher education will reach zero in 2031.
- Arizona has reduced its annual state investment effort by 61.9 percent from $12.27 in fiscal 1980 to $4.68 by fiscal 2011. This effort had peaked earlier at $15.13 in fiscal 1974. The trend between 1980 and 2011 will reach zero in 2032, although more recent data indicates it could be even sooner.
- Oregon reduced its state higher education investment by 61.5 percent, from $10.85 in fiscal 1980 (and $12.77 in fiscal 1970) to $4.18 in 2011. Extrapolating this trend since fiscal 1980, state investment will reach zero in 2036.
- Minnesota has reduced its higher education investment by 55.8 percent, from $14.17 in fiscal 1980 (and a peak of $15.08 in fiscal 1978) to $6.27 by fiscal 2011. Extending the trend since 1980 into the future, state funding for higher education will reach zero in 2037. But another extrapolation hits zero in 2032.
- Montana is scheduled to reach zero, based on extrapolated trends since 1980, in 2034. Montana has reduced its support from $10.88 per $1000 of state personal income in 1980 (and a peak of $12.13 in fiscal 1983), to $5.08 by fiscal 2011.
- Virginia reduced higher education funding by 53.6 percent from 10.47 in 1980 (and $11.37 in FY1979) to $4.86 in 2011. At this rate, state funding will reach zero in 2038. Another more recent projection reaches zero in 2032.
- Vermont reduced its investment by 51.3 percent from $7.78 in 1980 (and $10.88 in fiscal 1970) to $3.79 by fiscal 2011. Extending this trend, Vermont will reach zero in fiscal 2032.
- Iowa did not begin its retrenchment of higher education funding until the last decade. Extrapolating the decline in state investment in higher education since 2000 will zero out state funding by 2029.
- Michigan has accelerated higher education cutbacks during the past decade. This has advanced the date on which state funding will reach zero from 2059 to 2032.
- Mississippi also has accelerated funding reductions over the past decade. Based on declining state investment efforts since 1980, the state would have reached zero in 2084. But based on trends over just the last decade, state funding will now reach zero four decades earlier than that.
- Missouri, based on trends since 2000, will now zero out its state higher education support by 2036.
- Ohio, based on the rate of retrenchment since fiscal 2000, will reach zero in 2039.
- Pennsylvania has also accelerated its retrenchment efforts in funding higher education. Extrapolating trends since 1980, Pennsylvania was scheduled to reach zero in 2058. But extrapolating trends since 1990 moved this date forward to 2049. And the rate of decline accelerated further in the last decade: the trend since 2000 will take Pennsylvania to zero by 2038.
- Utah has also accelerated its cutbacks in state fiscal investment effort in higher education. Based on data since 1980 Utah would have reached zero by 2063. But if the extrapolation begins in 1990 then zero is reached by 2050. And if the trend extrapolation begins in 2000 then zero arrives in 2044.
Declining state support for higher education leads directly to increased tuition charges to students.
- Inflation-adjusted tuition charges that were declining in the 1970s have surged since 1980. Inflation-adjusted tuition and fee charges have increased by 247 percent at state flagship universities, by 230 percent at state universities and colleges, and by 164 percent at community colleges since 1980.
- Many public universities are enrolling a shrinking share of students from lower-income families and competing most aggressively for the students that can afford to pay higher tuitions with institutional discounts.
- Public institutions that can do so are aggressively recruiting non-resident students, for whom tuition charges are typically three times what state residents pay.
The longer-term issues that are being addressed in some states and at some public institutions. If these public institutions are no longer state supported who owns them? Who should govern them? Who should they serve? Should states be contracting for quite specified outcomes? The defunding of public higher education by the states inevitably inaugurates a new conversation about who controls them and whose interests are to be served. The states will play a diminished role in finding answers to these questions if public higher education is to survive and thrive.
SENDING PELL LOANS DIRECTLY TO LOW-INCOME FAMILIES----THAT WILL BE LIKE MAINLINING FOR-PROFIT EDUCATION FRAUD.
If you understand that universities are now corporate research facilities then you understand why Obama is growing the Federal funding for research while privatizing Pell Grants. Market-based interest rates on Federal student loans moves from the affordable low-interest loans to that of control of financial interest rates by Wall Street banks. Think as well that the coming economic crash of the bond market will at the same time push the FED's zero percent interest scam to a forced jump in interest rates that will make these loans too expensive for most families to even try to obtain. Obama is setting the stage for Federal student loans to end.
So, all of education funding is being funneled to these corporate universities which happen to be Ivy League universities to become yet another corporate subsidy.
BYE BYE PUBLIC SUBSIDY HELLO SOARING TAXATION ON THE PUBLIC. WE PAY TO MAXIMIZE CORPORATE PROFITS WHILE THEY MOVE AMERICANS INTO THIRD WORLD POVERTY!
That is a Clinton neo-liberal for you----more Republican than Republicans and the Republican Party is laughing all the way to the election polls.
The other thing you notice is Obama changing the Pell Grant/Perkins Loan process so the funds go to the person and not the institution. Imagine how many families strapped for cash will use this system just to gain money and go further and further into debt. It is simply another way to end Federal involvement and set the stage for low-income people to be fleeced of all of these funds all under the guise of helping the poor with education.
Obama’s FY 2014 Budget Proposes Changes to Federal Student Loans, Increases Research
Funding April 10, 2013
President Obama released his budget proposal for FY 2014 today, which includes among the higher education provisions a proposal to move to a market-based interest rate on all federal student loans. This includes the interest rate on subsidized Stafford student loans, which are set to double to 6.8 percent July 1 if no action is taken.
The president’s $3.77 trillion plan provides $71.2 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education, which budget documents say is 4.6 percent above what Congress approved spending in 2012 (FY 2013 appropriation bills are not yet finalized.)
White House budget documents say that the president’s plan would set rates on new subsidized Stafford, unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans each year based on the 10-year Treasury interest rate, which would be fixed for the life of the loan. There would be no cap on the interest rates.
Such a proposal is broadly similar to plans offered by Republican senators last year, but significantly different in some key details. In particular, the Obama administration’s proposal would retain the subsidized loan program, which would be eliminated under other plans.
A move to a market-based plan faces significant political opposition. As The Chronicle of Higher Education pointed out this morning, some Democrats advocate maintaining the current subsidized Stafford loan interest rate of 3.4 percent, a level that was extended last summer for a one-year-period just ahead of the scheduled increase.
Meanwhile, the president’s budget plan also calls for preserving the maximum Pell Grant award, which the White House says will rise to $5,780 in FY 2014, while including “measures that that ensure full program funding through the 2015-16 academic year,” according to budget documents.
Similar to last year’s proposal, the budget plan also calls for a Race to the Top for Higher Education program, which would provide $1 billion to support competitive grants to states that “commit to driving comprehensive change in their higher education policies and practices.”
The president’s budget largely level funds the other student aid programs, but does include a request for a $150 million increase to Federal Work Study (FWS). This is part of a proposal (offered last year by the Obama administration) to ultimately double FWS funding over the next five years. The increase to FWS is one component of an effort by the administration to significantly change the current campus-based aid programs (FWS, Supplemental Opportunity Education Grants and Perkins Loans).
Outside of student aid, the budget proposes some significant increases to other areas of interest to colleges and universities. In particular, the budget contains a request for $8 billion in new funding for community colleges to better integrate their programs with workforce needs.
The president’s budget provides strong support for research programs, proposing an overall 9 percent increase in non-defense research and development funding. The budget requests a total funding level of $31.3 billion for the National Institutes of Health, which would reverse the sequestration cuts, and provide 1.5 percent more than was available in FY 2012.
For the National Science Foundation (NSF), the increase was even larger. The budget requests $7.6 billion for NSF, also reversing the sequestration cuts and representing an increase of 8.4 percent over FY 2012.
More details about the higher education part of the president’s budget proposal were emerging Wednesday afternoon. See the following stories for some highlights:
Everyone can see Obama and Clinton neo-liberals are simply dismantling all that was public education----all that was equal protection opportunity and access public education and replacing it with the autocratic Chinese vocational K through career college for 90% of Americans. National labor and justice organizations supporting Race to the Top knew this was where Clinton neo-liberals were taking public education and maybe they are so tied to corporations they do not mind ending these pathways for union families wanting their children to attend higher education 4 year universities.....instead---apprenticeships for all-----after all the poor must say poor. We don't need any of this middle-class stuff.
The defunding and mainstreaming of special needs students is simply the ending of Equal Protection for people with disabilities as the same goes for underfunding students in underserved communities.
IT IS ALL SIMPLY IGNORING EQUAL PROTECTION WHICH IS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT.
Raise your hand if you can see special needs children being pushed into warehousing. Goodbye workplace accomodations for people with disabilities with Clinton neo-liberals killing all labor, justice, women, and disability rights clearly written in the US Constitution. Remember, Trans Pacific Trade Pact does not allow for any laws that take away from corporate profit so that is all of civil rights and liberties.
UNIONS LEADING THE SUPPORT OF COMMUNITY COLLEGES AS CORPORATE JOB-TRAINING CENTERS CREATING A POOL OF WORKERS THAT SIMPLY GO FROM ONE JOB TRAINING PROGRAM TO ANOTHER IS NOT HELPING UNION MEMBERSHIP!
Educators speak out on the underfunding of special education
Posted May 26, 2015
By Amanda Litvinov Education Votes
Forty years ago, federal lawmakers transformed how we educate our special needs students with the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). They also committed to pay 40 percent of the per pupil cost of educating students with special needs.
But the federal government has never met even half of that obligation to the states and the students and families who rely on the critical services and programs that public schools provide. The chronic underfunding of IDEA has forced states and districts to cut elsewhere to fulfill the law’s mandates.
The federal government’s unfulfilled promise cost the states a collective $17 billion for the current school year.
Educators see the effects of the chronic underfunding of special education in their classrooms every day. Here are a handful of educator and parent perspectives shared with EducationVotes:
“I work mainly with students with autism. Improper funding typically means less paraeducator support. That can leave special needs kids alone in a class of 30 students. It can mean students with challenging behaviors in a small group with no additional help. It can mean students who are affected by the noise and chaos of the lunchroom enduring those challenges alone. It also may mean no more trainings or workshops for teachers. These are just a few of the reasons proper funding matters!”
MIDDLE SCHOOL SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER, EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN.
“Federal dollars help keep special education classes smaller, so teachers can give each student more individualized attention. We already have too many students on our caseload to do our very best work, and if we continue to take on more students with no new staff, the quality of our services will further deteriorate.”
HIGH SCHOOL SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER, GIBSONVILLE, N.C.
“My son has debilitating learning disabilities. If he does not receive appropriate instruction from special education teachers he will not be able to become a productive citizen. Please, lawmakers, provide funding that keeps classes smaller so that those with learning difficulties can be successful.”
PARENT AND COLLEGE INSTRUCTOR, WORCESTER, MASS.
“Many of my students start school with extremely limited self-help and social skills. Teaching them to communicate, to play, and to take care of themselves requires intensive individual instruction. But the rewards are enormous! When you see those students a few years later learning to read, write, count, and do math problems—when they can communicate their needs, when they have friends in their general education classrooms who seek them out on the playground—you know that all that intensive work has been worth every minute and every cent. I wish everyone in Washington could see what I see.”
ELEMENTARY SPECIAL/DEVELOPMENTAL EDUCATION TEACHER, WOODLAND, CALIF.
“I have students who are at a huge disadvantage because of the poverty they were born into. Too many have parents who are in prison or dead, poor diets and spotty after-school care, and a government that appears to care less and less. Lawmakers, come to my classroom, look those children in the eyes, and see if you still can sleep at night knowing that critical federal programs like IDEA are nowhere near fully funded. Our society will be judged by how we help those who need us most.”
SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER, SALEM, ILL.
“I am saddened nearly every day when I see how much more we ought to be doing in special education and sickened when I meet adult students with disabilities whose outcomes would have turned out better if they had had better services. We can do better than this. Where is our national pride when it comes to educational services for students with disabilities?”
TEACHER, KIRKLAND, WASH.
“I have taught preschool/Head Start since 2004. The amount of special needs among our kids continues to rise at an alarming rate. I will never understand why important federal programs for low-income families and kids with special needs continue to be cut or chronically underfunded. Those who hold the purse strings should come visit our preschool/Head Start classrooms.”
EARLY EDUCATION TEACHER, PADUCAH, KY.
“Children are coming to school with reduced language abilities and teachers are struggling to educate children delayed abilities to attend, problem solve, follow directions, and understand basic concepts. Class sizes are growing, adding to these concerns. If our legislators truly want to see American children educated, they have got to visit classrooms, talk with teachers and paraprofessionals, and understand the needs we manage daily.”
This is becoming the pathway for most students with disabilities----they are being tracked just as with all vocational tracking into apprenticeships with what we already know are abusive jobs with corporations hiring adults with disabilities. I spoke about Baltimore and Maryland using the ARC disabilities corporation as a way to employ low-income workers simply needing a job-----and the pay they receive is as low as this article states.
This will get worse if Clinton neo-liberals are allowed to install these corporate education reforms that have as a goal using all students in a pathway of apprenticeships not only in high school----but down to middle and elementary school. The idea of Equal Protection was to end this pathway to warehousing for the disabled and to use public schools to ready the disabled for mainstream employment allowing a Living Wage. Corporations will not have to do this under Trans Pacific Trade Pact.
We must look not only at what these K-12 vocational tracking schools do with children----but where it will take the adults once they graduate.
To a global corporate Clinton Wall Street neo-liberal and Bush neo-con----human capital is all about profit---
Low pay for the disabled draws fire
Depression era program allows pay of $2.31 an hour or lower
By Lee Ann O'Neal6:51 p.m.Dec. 20, 2013
Some charities are coming under fire this holiday season for paying disabled workers as little as $2.31 an hour under a federal program that allows sub-minimum wages in an effort to offer workers opportunities they might not otherwise have.
Much of the criticism has been leveled at Goodwill Industries, but U-T Watchdog obtained a list of more than 320 waivers granting employers in the state permission for lower pay.
Special minimum wage waiversDownload .XLSX
They include Pizza Hut locations in Lemon Grove and La Mesa, On the Border in Escondido and El Cajon, as well as nonprofits like the Arc of San Diego and Job Options. School districts including Sweetwater Union High School District are also listed. Beef-n-Bun Restaurant in El Cajon and Rock Bottom Brewery in La Jolla are listed with pending waivers, as is the Hometown Buffet in San Diego.
California’s minimum wage is $8 an hour, with an increase to $9 set for July.
The policy to allow waivers dates to the New Deal and has brought renewed criticism as some advocates say the low pay is unjust and prevents people with disabilities from being fully integrated in the workforce.
“People get stuck in these jobs, and they don’t leave, and they’re there for years and years and years,” said Debra Jorgensen, a San Diego attorney with Disability Rights California.
Should employers be able to pay below minimum wage for disabled workers? Yes 36% (189) No 64% (331)520 total votes.
Rates are based on a comparison of the worker’s productivity with that of an experienced worker who does not have a disability. If the job involves a repetitive task, and a typical worker can perform it 50 times an hour compared to 25 for the worker with a disability, the law allows for that worker to earn half the prevailing wage.
The people most affected by the wages are sometimes unable to speak for themselves.
Jacob Brengle, 23, works at the Goodwill on Mira Mesa Boulevard, sorting clothes and adding price tags to shirts for three hours three days a week. Goodwill provides Brengle and others in his program with structured activities during 21 other hours each week, going to museums, taking public transportation, and working at a community garden.
Brengle is earning $3.74 an hour. He started at Goodwill during the summer 2012 and was paid an initial hourly rate of $3.66, then $3.06, with adjustments based on time studies that Goodwill conducts periodically to measure the efficiency of each employee.
“I wouldn’t even care if Jacob didn’t get paid at all,” said Brengle’s mother, Rochele Brengle. “It’s not enough money to make a difference either way. This is job training for him. This is something that keeps him busy, keeps him challenged. That, in and of itself, it’s worth whatever he earns.”
Goodwill Industries of San Diego County employs 550 people with disabilities, or about 43 percent of its staff, according to figures provided to the U-T by Goodwill. Of that number, 71 are currently paid under the minimum wage, with the least experienced workers earning $2.31 to start but evaluated for a new set wage after 30 days. Across all its employees with disabilities, the average wage is $11.08 an hour.