An "Extraordinarily Deep" 3% Cut in California School Budget?

California-based reporter Jennifer Steinhauer, who has devoted several of her budget-crisis stories to insulting California voters for rejecting higher taxes, returnswith an update Thursday on "extraordinarily deep cuts" to come in "California NearBudget Deal, Slashing Money for Schools and Cities.It camewith alarge,close-shot photo from Getty Images of some protestors (a grand total of four in the picture, including the photogenic one in front) gathered at a "state building in San Francisco."

California lawmakers neared a deal on Wednesday with Gov.Arnold Schwarzeneggerto close the state's $26 billion budget gap in ways that would profoundly alter the state's relationship with its cities and millions of residents who receive basic services.

Details emerging from the talks suggested that the deal would require extraordinarily deep cuts to school systems and local governments, and, while far smaller than the governor threatened a month ago, substantial cuts to health care and other social services.

So how how much do you have to cut to the state school systemto be accused by the Times of an "extraordinarily deep cut"? A little less than 3%, it seems - $1.5 billion out of $52 billion. Deeper into the article Steinhauer relayed the actual numbers, and buried one reason why education is taking a budgetary hit - raises that were previously promised to teachers are evidently inviolable.

The state's education budget of nearly $52 billion seemed destined for another large hit, of about $1.5 billion, on top of large reductions earlier, officials said. Some school districts have already promised raises to teachers, leaving them even less able to continue to offer programs like music and physical education.