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People Power




Thank you for Sean J. Kearns' coverage of the large group from Southern Humboldt who went to Sacramento to advocate for restored funding for home-to-school buses ("School Bus Breakdown," Feb. 9). The article showed what a massive undertaking the trip was, and also gave a good background to the underlying budget issues at the state level.

I also want to thank the students, parents, bus drivers, teachers, school board, and many community members who have been involved in the impressive effort to restore funding for school transportation in southern Humboldt. I had hoped to go to Sacramento with the group, but Board of Supervisors business did not allow for that.

In my role as a county supervisor, I had brought the need to restore the funding to Sen. Noreen Evans and Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, as well Superintendent of Schools Garry Eagles, emphasizing how devastating this school bus transportation cut would be, but it was the busloads of people going directly to Sacramento that really underscored this need. My wife Laurie, a teacher at Fortuna Middle School, has noted before that parents have a lot of power, and the recent bus trip from Southern Humboldt was a great demonstration of that power.

The backdrop for all of us in California is the continuing structural deficit at the state level. The failure of the state legislature to extend the temporary sales and other taxes through June of 2011 is resulting in devastating cuts to the most vulnerable, including school children.

SB81, which restored the school bus funding through the end of this school year, was signed by the governor last Friday, so the funding has been restored through the end of this school year. I will continue to work with our board, school officials, our Sacramento representatives, and community members to protect this funding in future years. I appreciate and applaud everyone who found time in their already busy schedules to make this happen.

Clif Clendenen, Fortuna


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