Keanu Reeves, at right, in a movie still from "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.”
Dear Children of California,
Guess what? Good news. It looks like school will be ending 7 days earlier in the spring.
That's on top of the cuts to the school year that have things ending a week or two earlier than before. Some of you will be done with school and onto your summer vacations by mid-May!
This is all happening because of your parents and the people of California and their elected representatives. They've built a broken budget system that they refuse to fix. Instead, they fill budgets with unreasonable assumptions and weird formulas. One of those formulas is called a budget trigger cut.
This trigger is going to give you the shorter school year.
You see, unable to manage the budget process, the legislature and governor just assumed $4 billion in additional revenues.
It turns out those revenues aren't going to show up -- which means a big automatic cut in schools. Since special legislation protects teachers from layoffs in these cuts, the only way for most districts to cut will be to reduce the school year. They are permitted to get rid of up to 7 days.
The big question for you is: what can you do when you're out of school in the spring? Jobs and summer camps and summer child care don't usually start til late June.
Well, let me make a suggestion: Party in Sacramento!
There are 120 members of the legislature, and let me tell you something: they are working in May.
Most of that work involves little bills that no one cares about, so they'd love to see you. They have a giant lawn and a park at the Capitol where you can hang out and play.
They've got a big budget for food -- I'm sure the lawmakers will be happy to give you all the food and drink you like if you just show up at their offices.
The governor has a big suite of offices with a courtyard on the first floor. He doesn't like to have a big staff, so there's usually plenty of space. I'm sure he'd love it if you slipped it, played with his dog and took a nap.
If any of these elected officials give you a hard time, you just tell 'em: "Hey, dude, I was supposed to be in school. And my hanging out, eating your food, and making a nuisance of myself is cheap compared to the billions you need to find to keep me in school into June."
If you don't feel like a road trip to Sacramento, well, there's the local option. Find a nice old person who has owned his or her home a long time -- at least 30 years or so -- and just politely knock on the door and invite yourself in.
These folks don't pay much in property taxes, which is what funds schools, so you just tell them you're visiting them because they didn't want you in school. Help yourself to whatever you like in the refrigerator while you're there.
If they object, remind them that groceries are cheaper than paying taxes on the actual value of your property. So they really should be thanking you.
With congratulations to you on your four months of summer vacation,