Proposition 30, 38 hot education topics on Tuesday's ballot
Students walk towards the school playground during recess at Miguel Hidalgo Elementary School in Brawley on Friday. (JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO / November 4, 2012)
Others shot hoops or played soccer until the bell rang and the teachers blew their whistles, signaling the end of the post-lunch recess Friday.
As the students walked back to their brightly decorated classrooms, they likely weren’t thinking of the critical vote Tuesday that could greatly impact how their education moves forward through 2018.
Dueling propositions, Propositions 30 and 38, are on the ballot, both of which are said to provide more money for schools to the tune of $6 billion to more than $10 billion. However, opponents of one say there is no guarantee of funding to schools, and those against the other say there isn’t money set aside for higher education.
Proposition 30 would raise property taxes on individuals earning $250,000 or more for seven years, as well as include a quarter-cent sales tax increase for four years. The money would be put into an Education Protection Account, which would be available for a wide range of purposes including funding existing state programs, ending kindergarten through community college education payment delays and paying other state debts, according to a report from the independent State Legislative Analyst’s Office.
Proposition 38 would increase income tax incrementally for 12 years for people who earn more than $7,316, with money to be spent on K-12 schools, early care and education and state debt payments.
Proposition 30 already has support from local districts, who say it will prevent “trigger cuts” that will take place without the proposition passing.
If the proposition does not pass, the governor has indicated he will cut $450 per student in average daily attendance funding, said Jon LeDoux, superintendent of El Centro Elementary School District.
“With a district like El Centro, we’re talking about $2 million, and that would be pretty hard to deal with,” he said.
Much of the impact won’t be felt until next year as local school districts budgeted with those cuts in mind, he said. What it could mean in the future, though, is larger class sizes, laying off employees and shorter school years.
The state Department of Education has said if the proposition doesn’t pass, school districts can cut back their school year by 15 days, he said.
Schools budgets have been cut by 20 percent through the last two years. El Centro Elementary has the largest class sizes it has seen in 10 years, LeDoux added.
“Everything is as tight as it can be.”
Calexico Unified would face a more than $3.8 million cut should the proposition not pass and has talked about shortening the school year by five days, said Melissa Gamboa with the Calexico Teachers Association.
“With the overcrowded classes and the limited supplies, I can’t even imagine what would happen to our classes,” she said. “It’s scary.”
The teachers’ union has been taking a pre-emptive step, campaigning for Proposition 30.
While some locals support the measure, others say it is a false promise.
“We all want better schools, but Proposition 30 guarantees no money to the classroom, and instead gives politicians $50 billion to spend on anything they want,” said No on Prop. 30 spokesman Aaron McLear.
One of the main issues for the No on Prop. 30 group, is that the money goes into the general fund and politicians decide how to spend it, McLear said.