This November, there seems to be a multitude of candidates and propositions to consider. Two prominent ballot measures that should be considered in particular are Proposition 30 and 38. Both are school funding proposals that are geared toward giving more money to California schools.
While recent polling has shown that Proposition 30 is hovering around 50 percent, Proposition 38 only has roughly 40 percent approval. Because Proposition 38 is so far behind, the school district is focusing more of its energy on Proposition 30.
“I am presuming 38 doesn’t pass and the great hope is that 30 does and so our whole focus is on 30,” Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Joe White said.
However, if both pass, the one with a higher percentage of votes will be put into place.
While school funding issues may seem abstract, the proposition will have a direct financial impact on our district.
“If one of them isn’t passed the immediate effect is the trigger cuts that the governor announced,” Assistant Superintendent Steve Hope said. “Right now we anticipate that we have to cut approximately $1.8 million out of the budget starting January 1, 2013.”
This is important because each year the state agrees to give schools a certain amount of money. The way Proposition 30 is structured is that if it doesn’t pass the Mountain View Los Altos (MVLA) district loses $1.8 million, but if it does pass, no extra money is received.
A common opposition argument has been that there is too much bureaucracy, so the money will never reach schools. However, this is incredibly misleading. It is true that no additional money goes to schools, but the money is already promised and none is lost.
Additionally, opponents say that Propoisition 30 just fuels more money going into a state that has already lost much money. But, the issue with this argument is that this money would not be going to the state, but rather straight to schools. Students would be the ones directly harmed, not state government.
“I think what the [opposition] ads are doing is pointing out imperfections … in the operation of state government,” School Board President Phil Faillace said. “Yes we want those imperfections pointed out, we want to eliminate them, we want to make it more efficient, [but] we don’t think that’s an excuse for starving the schools and sentencing a generation of students to an inferior education.”
No reasonable person would argue that the state is free from problems, but striking Proposition 30 down isn’t a solution to this. The state won’t learn to be more efficient, and instead students who hold no culpability for a failed system will be hurt.
Additionally, unlike previous measures, these cuts will take effect second semester of this year. When students come back to school in January these reductions will be in place, rather than at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year.
This means that the budget the district has set up for the year could be significantly impacted by the outcome of this election. Having to decide funding midyear is a complicated and trying task.
Now, the district has over $10 million in savings that will likely be used to carry the district through the year. However, cuts are likely to be felt next school year. The way the cuts work is that the budget becomes $1.8 million less indefinitely.
The way Prop 30 is funded is by increasing sales taxes a quarter of a cent and increasing income taxes on revenues over $250,000. This has caused the bill to garner a lot of bad press because it is seen as a tax increase that Californians can’t afford. However, on the issue of the sales tax, a quarter cent increase is hardly going to stop people from buying goods. Additionally, the highest income tax increase for those earning over $500,000 a year is only three percent. This is a small price to pay to stop our schools from losing millions of dollars a year and to keep our school districts functioning.
“The results of[Proposition 30 not passing]…is that it would be disastrous for education…and it will be disastrous for many years to come,” White said.