California schools watch the November ballot
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 01:10
In a time of intense budget cuts, California public education is putting its fate in the hands of voters with Propositions 30 and 38. But even if both pass this November, only one can go into effect.
Each proposition would raise taxes to generate funds for education. However, while Prop. 30 would secure funds and stop future budget cuts for K-12 schools and California public universities, Prop. 38 would provide revenues directly to K-12 schools and early childhood programs.
Should voters approve both Prop. 30 and 38, the proposition with the most “yes” votes will be put into effect, according to the Secretary of State’s website.
“We face a pretty clear choice this November,” Brian Ferguson, a California Faculty Association spokesman, said. “We can either continue taking cuts year after year or adopt a plan that gives us some relief.”
To stave off these cuts, Prop. 30 would increase the state sales tax and raise the income tax.
“[In] our view, Prop. 30 is the only option that puts us back on track to fund the CSU [and University of California],” Ferguson said. “We support Proposition 30 over 38, since it helps fund higher education.”
Mike Geck, vice president for organizing at the CSU Employees Union, said the union has officially endorsed Prop. 30 and opposed Prop. 38.
“Prop. 30 allocates money for higher education, K-12 education and social services immediately,” Geck said, “while Prop. 38 gives no money for higher education and you have to wait for revenues to generate.”
Prop. 38 seeks to raise personal income taxes on Californians to fund K-12 education, childhood programs and reduce state debt, according to the Secretary of State’s website.
“Essentially both initiatives [Prop. 30 and 38] would have the potential to provide additional revenues for schools, which is badly needed,” Chris Eftychiou, a Long Beach Unified School District spokesman, said.
Prop. 38 would direct $10 billion to child care, preschools and the state debt for the first four years of the proposition’s tax increase. After those four years, 85 percent of funds would go toward K-12 schools , and 15 percent would go to early childhood programs.
Those in support of Prop. 38 include the Long Beach Unified School District, which also supports Prop. 30, and the Long Beach Parents and Teachers Association. According to a statement released by the president of the California State PTA, Carol Kocivar, the organization said Prop. 38 is the best decision for California’s future, as it will fund a generation of students and help the state deficit.
The statement also said that it is important for Californians to have a clear understanding of both propositions.
“We hope both campaigns will continue to work to distinguish the important policy aspects of their initiatives, the critical need for new revenues, and the devastating impact of cuts our schools have suffered in the past four years,” the statement said.
However, Prop. 38 would not secure any funds for California universities. Prop. 30, on the other hand, does.
If Prop. 30 does not pass, California public schools and community colleges will be cut by $5.35 billion. Also, the Cal State University would face a $250 million trigger cut, which the CSU Board of Trustees plans to compensate for by enacting a 5 percent tuition increase starting in the spring.
If Prop. 30 passes, the proposition will generate an estimated $6 billion annually in additional revenues for the state, according to the Secretary of State’s website.
Eric Eisenhammer, the director of grassroots for Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association, an organization that promotes taxpayers’ rights, is against Prop. 30. He said there are other solutions for the state budget problem.
“The problem is that our politicians need to do a better job spending our money,” Eisenhammer said. “We have a government that has money to build a bullet train rather than provide enough money for students.”