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Proposition 30 promises to bolster struggling schools

Failure could spell doom for education

By Henry Hollaway
On October 25, 2012


Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 may have its opponents, but the fact remains that a California education system on life support depends on it passing. If past budget cuts to schools over the past few years have been brutal, lurking cuts may spell doom for most.

Prop 30 failing would allow an immense $6 billion budget cut to education, a drastic reduction especially in comparison to the $2.5 billion cuts since 2008. "It'd be one more hack when we're already cut to the bone," Berkeley City College instructor Joan Berezin said.

A passing of Prop 30 would halt these massive cuts to K-12 and higher education by increasing income tax 1-3 percent on individuals who earn more than $250,000, or couples filing joint returns of more than $500,000, per year for the next seven years. It also includes a quarter of a cent sales tax increase over the next four years.

If Prop 30 were to fail, California community colleges would lose $338 million in the middle of their 2012-2013 academic year. The trimming likely would result in faculty releases and class shortages that will negatively affect students hoping to transfer to four-year colleges and universities. 

The University of California would then be expected to push harder towards privatization, all while increasing tuition by a minimum of 20 percent to make up the loss of state funding. The California State University system is expected to admit 20,000 fewer students and increase tuition as well.

Over the past three years alone; $809 million has been cut from community colleges, since 2007 the UC's have lost nearly $1 billion from the state, and tuition has nearly tripled since 2002. The UC and CSU systems each suffered approximately 20 percent cuts in state funding in the 2011-12 school year. 

Although Brown's proposition doesn't intend to produce funding for schools, it does keep these budding issues, at least for now, at bay and opens the door for future investments in education. "It will keep us from going over the cliff completely, but I would characterize it as a band-aid and not a cure," Berezin said.


Prop 30 vs. Prop 38

Prop 30

Key Sponsor -Gov. Jerry Brown (D)

Major Backers- California Teachers Association, CA Police Association, CA Democratic Party, CA Federation of Teachers

Opponents- National Federation of Independent Business CA, CA Republican Party, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Revenue- Increased income tax of 1-3% on $250k bracket for 7 years, increased state sales tax by .25% for 4 years

Money goes to- current school year, amount raised depends on state of economy. 40-60% of funds go to "Education Protection Account" and divided up amongst K-12 and higher education; funds cannot go to admin costs

Funds overseen -Publicly

Prop 38

Key Sponsor- Molly Munger and Advancement Project; an LA based Civil Rights Organization

Backers- CA State PTA

Opponents- CA Chamber of Commerce, CA Democratic Party, CA Republican Party, CA State Sheriffs Association

Revenue- Taxpayers earning over $7316 taxed 0.4-2.2% for 12 years

Money goes to- 2013-14 school year, amount raised depends on state of economy "California Education Trust Fund" operates independently of the states regular budget process. First 4 years 70% to K-12 and early childhood programs, 30% toward state bond debt, remaining 8 years 85% to K-12, 15% to early childhood programs

Funds overseen -Fiscal Oversight Board

If Prop 30 fails - Trigger cuts automatically take $6 billion from schools. K-12 School years reduced by 3 weeks, UC and CSU lose $250 mill each, CC lose $338 mill

If Prop 38 fails- Schools lose out on potentially billions of dollars in revenues, the state bond debts go unaided.

Both can be voted for, but only 1 (the one with the higher vote count if both pass) will pass

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