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Districts in Dire Straits Without Prop. 30

Several districts are keeping tabs on Prop. 30, the increase in sales tax. They stand to lose millions in funding if it fails to pass on Nov. 6.

With the election only a few days away, some educators and parents have stepped up efforts to gain support for Proposition 30 by emphasizing that the fate of  hundreds of thousands California students' education rests in voters’ hands.

What’s at stake is millions of dollars from the 2012-13 fiscal year, supporters say. If Proposition 30 does not pass, educators warn the per-student spending, already among the lowest in the country, would be cut by more than $450.

Local districts say they have already trimmed “the fat” and then some, educators said. But the loss of Proposition 30 could mean shortened school years, teacher furloughs, fewer summer school options and deeper staff cuts in some of the districts.

Monrovia teachers took to the streets in favor of Prop 30 on Thursday, urging residents to pass the measure to avert further cuts.

The proposition’s failure could mean local school districts, including Glendora and Charter Oak, will see millions of dollars cut from their already money-strapped budgets.

Proposition 30, known as the School and Safety Protection Act, is a four-year quarter cent increase to the state’s sales tax. And for the next seven years, it would also raise personal income tax on Californians who earn more than $250,000 a year.

Governor Jerry Brown, who has toured to promote Prop. 30, said the new tax is expected to raise $6 billion annually and would spare the state’s public schools from $6 billion trigger cuts that would go into effect on Jan. 1 as the state tries to fill a $16 billion budget shortfall.

Opponents insist the legislation does not guarantee the money will be used for education. Not so, said supporters. Revenue is guaranteed to go into a special account for schools that the legislature can’t touch, according to voter information.

Many residents are angry over the rising income taxes they fear would drive out businesses. If Proposition 30 passes, tax rates would increase to 13.1 percent for top earners, the highest in the country, according to the Claremont McKenna University’s Video Voter Series.

Some also seem to feel hesitant to trust a state that has not been able to fund its schools, despite past efforts, Redinger said.

“I think there is ambivalence,” Redinger said. “From my way of thinking, I’ve been around a lot of elections, and I don’t feel like the prop was formulated in a way that it will not reach the district the way it's intended. In other words, I don’t think we’ll get what we vote for. I have seen that before. However I really do want it to pass.”

HIGH STAKES

Those pushing for the proposition argue the stakes are high.

And for the 2013-14 school year, it would mean yet another $3.25 million for Glendora Unified. Charter Oak could see $3 million slashed from its budget.

“[Layoffs] hurts us every year,” said Terry Stanfill, assistant superintendent of human services. “Layoffs used to be big news. Statewide, it’s as if every school district is doing layoffs. It’s almost news if you didn’t do any layoffs.”

ELECTION NIGHT

There is no way to tell how the vote will go. The measure is polling at 48 percent in favor to 38 percent against, with 14 percent undecided, according to the Huffington Post.

And it does have competition from Proposition 38, the Our Children, Our Future: Local Schools and Early Education Investment Act authored by Pasadena attorney Molly Munger. That measure has not gotten much play from those who have lobbied city councils and local officials for support.

Instead, much for the focus has been on passing Prop. 30 and balancing current budgets.

- Local Editor Hazel Lodevico-To'o contributed to this report.

J. Knight November 05, 2012 at 05:52 AM
I would like to see some proof that the problems in the education system are due to illegal immigrants. Conjecture just doesn't cut it. Instead of pointing the finger at us, Jerry Brown needs to look at the four fingers pointing back at him. Sacramento has been cutting the school budget every year for the past several years. They took away the redevelopment funds from cities. We keep voting for bonds and taxes for things like mass transit and more money for schools only to have to vote for them again. What is Sacramento doing with all the money? Do we have representatives or robbers in the capitol? And what are they doing to make our state more profitable? We have tourism, Silicon Valley, Napa Valley and Hollywood and the state can't seem to make enough money. In the 50s the state was in the top five in education. Now we are in the bottom five. What has happened? Illegal aliens are just a convenient scapegoat for poor government. We have such a beautiful state with people who work hard. The issue is not about passing Prop 30, it is about getting people into state government who know how to successfully manage California.
R Terry November 05, 2012 at 06:37 AM
Every election cycle it is the same thing. If you don't vote for this bill, there will be dire consequences...every time. I voted for the lotto. What happened to that? A large percentage of the population buys lotto tickets...that is a lot of money! That was to fund the schools yet the schools are in dires straights again. It does not matter what passes, nothing changes. Money in the schools front door goes out the back...every time. Do we really need that multi billion dollar bullet train? It's really just an arrogant politician pet project. I though we were broke AND in need of money for our schools and a multitude of other things.
R Terry November 05, 2012 at 07:21 AM
Richard, are you a willing taxpayer or are you in the "47%"? I'm assuming you were a taxpayer. It's easy to favor expensive benefits when you don't have to pay for them and in many cases never contributed taxes for them. I think that every person who agrees with you should be contributing at least 10% of their paycheck before taxes. Mit Romney and all Mormons do that for their church, shouldn't good liberals do that for their state? Furthermore every person who receives benefits from the state or federal government should be required to do some sort of work that benefits the community. California has about 1/3 of all the welfare recipients in the US. California is very liberal yes and that collecting of tax money from the working to give to the non working is a giant magnet drawing in those non taxpayers and the illegals that are so coddled here. I guarantee you that the illegals will inherit this state. The anchor babies of the past amnesties and this next will certainly vote for those who will be giving the most free services to them, their families and making it easier for their relatives to come here for the next amnesty to come. Eventually the border patrol will all but vanish as the Hispanics control the local, state and eventually the federal government. They are certainly going to vote for their own, not that old white guy. Nevada would be Republican if it was not for the now huge Hispanic population. This will eventually happen in most states.
Liz November 05, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Why is it that social security, medicare, schools, fire departments, and police departments are always the targets of cuts if certain props. don't pass on voting day??? Why aren't the cuts made with salaries in government starting at the top and working down until the budget is met? There is so much waste in gov. its pathetic .Wouldn't it be nice to go to your boss and tell him you need more money so give me a raise, that is what the government is saying to all of us. Don't fall for it please. Taxes don't go away and neither does income tax.
Dave November 05, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Prop 30 – Nope. Sorry, we need to fix the school system, not just toss more money to be wasted. This is not just a tax on the top 3% (who make over 250,000), it is a ¼% Sales tax on everybody. The proposition states: .”ensure they are spent only for schools and public safety.” Really? Then why does it say this? Sec. 36. (a) For purposes of this section: (1) “Public Safety Services” includes the following: (A) Employing and training public safety officials, including law enforcement personnel, attorneys assigned to criminal proceedings, and court security staff. (B) Managing local jails and providing housing, treatment, and services for, and supervision of, juvenile and adult offenders. This is money not for our classrooms, but for the attorneys. Just take the time to read the proposition – decide for yourself. Me? There is zero chance that I’m voting to keep feeding a broken system.

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