California's largest two school districts have canceled their summer school programs in the first major response to the severe budget limitation imposed by the Jarvis-Gann Initiative.
In Los Angeles, the Board of Education ordered a two-month unpaid vacation for the 10,000 employes of the district and told the 350,000 students who had been expected to enroll that there would be no summer classes.
In the San Diego Unified School District, where 45,000 students were expected, the board took a similar action and gave 2,400 employes the summer off.
Most other school districts in California are expected to follow suit. A spokesman for state Superintendent of Public Instruction Wilson Riles, who recommended the closings, said such action would conserve state and local funds for the fall semester.
The property tax rollback mandated by the Jarvis-Gann Initiative also was felt in the San Francisco. The Board of Supervisors on Monday approved a freeze on city employes' salaries and the Municipal Railway cut bus, cable car and trolley service 20 percent while raising fares from 25 cents to 45 cents.
The Los Angeles school board action came on a 5-to-2 vote. The two board members who had supported Proposition 13, the Jarvis-Gann Initiative, opposed the closing.
One of these dissenters, Bobbi Fiedler, said the action was "a political ploy" that made school children the victims.
"I don't see why these children should bear the brunt of this," Fiedler said. "The board is taking a very vindictive approach. They're saying I told you so and I'm going to punish you for doing what I didn't want you to do."
Under proposals being considered in Sacramento, schools would get aid from the state equalling 85 percent of current expenditures, which probably would make some summer courses possible. But board members at this point have no way of knowing what the legislative action will be or whether it will come in time to help them.
The Jarvis-Gann Initiative limits property taxes to 1 percent of the 1975-76 assessments, which will eliminate $7 billion of the current $11.4 billion in property tax revenue. Fifty-two percent of this lost revenue would have gone to school districts, with the rest distributed among counties, cities and special districts.
Jarvis-Gann directs what must be done while providing few mechanisms to do it, so the legislature must re-allocate the surviving $4.4 billion in property tax revenue. Then it must decide how much of the $5 billion surplus - which has been created by inflation and a steeply progressive income tax - will be used to help local government.
The atmosphere of extreme urgency prevailing in local governments and school districts seems strangely absent in Sacramento. Almost leisurely unreality pervaded the opening session of a Senate-Assembly conference committee that is supposed to recommend a solution.
With only 17 days remaining before Jarvis-Gann takes effect, the committee took time Monday for a partisan-tinged debate about whether corporations that receive tax breaks will spend the money in California.
Committee chairman Al Rodda, a liberal Democrat who opposed Proposition 13, talked often about the measure's negative impact in a way that suggested he thought the election hadn't yet been held.
Information presented to the committee by legislative analyst William Hamm and state Finance Director Roy Bell did show that the surplus, by the end of the 1978-89 fiscal year, will be close to the $5 billion which Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr. wants to spend to help local government Hamm suggested that the state spend only $2.5 bilion of the surplus this year so that it would have money on hand to offset anticipated future deficits.
Brown's problem in convincing the legislature to return all of the surplus right away appears to lie chiefly within his own party. Yesterday, Assembly Republican leader Paul Priolo said he would support the governor's proposal, but Democratic leader Leo McCarthy indicated that he favors giving back a smaller portion of the $5 billion.
Behind the scenes, there is agreement on the staff level that both the legislature and the governor were less prepared for the passage of Proposition 13 than was local government, where "doomsday" budgets had been drawn up weeks in advance.
This lack of state preparation could be disastrous, since local governments will be forced to make drastic cutbacks unless the state acts by July 1. However, if the state gives back a large proportion of its surplus by that date the impact could be substantially diminished.
The theoretical knowledge that the state has the money to help them isn't likely to comfort either the students who can't go to summer school - including 500 scheduled to graduate - or school employes forced to take unraid vacation.
Hardest hit among the employes are janitors, most of them on a $800-a-month pay scale, who will lose two months income without becoming eligible for unemployment benefits.
"Our people need the full 12 months," said Bob Anderson of the Los Angeles City and County School Employes Union. "A custodian making $10,000 needs it more than a teacher making $20,000. They're forcing our guys to take a two-month pay cut."