On Nov. 6, the voters of California will have a say on the future of the children in our communities. In the last decade, our schools and classrooms have endured repeated and damaging funding cuts. Districts have closed campuses, raised class sizes, laid off teachers, shortened the school year and shuttered school libraries. These decisions were made not for the educational betterment of our students but instead dictated by budget necessity. If Propositions 30 and/or 38 pass, we will have some budgetary relief that will finally free us to make decisions in the best interest of our students.
To bridge funding gaps, our school districts have stitched together a patchwork of one-time federal funds and generous support from our educational foundations, PTAs, private donors and local businesses. They have helped to preserve things such as art and music programs, smaller class sizes, athletic teams and high quality instruction.
But after years of multimillion dollar funding cuts, we are on the precipice, facing automatically triggered and unprecedented budget cuts if both propositions fail. The academic achievement of the students and teachers that have made our communities proud will be gravely imperiled. This current school year could be shortened by as many as 15 days, closing some schools by mid-May. Make no mistake, our schools will have fewer teachers, larger class sizes and reduced opportunities for educational enrichment that our kids so desperately need.
Proposition 30 would protect K-12 schools, colleges, universities and public safety from mid-year budget cuts and is sponsored by Governor Jerry Brown. Proposition 38, backed by Pasadena civil rights attorney Molly Munger, would mean new revenue streams for K-12 education that would bypass Sacramento and instead go directly to schools. Both propositions on Tuesday’s ballot would bring much needed help to our schools, but only the one that passes and gets the most votes would go into effect. School boards across the state recognize the potential impact of Propositions 30 and 38 and have endorsed one or both of these initiatives.
California schools have provided countless opportunities for generations of students. We feel that the students of today deserve that same world-class educational experience. Our schools and students are counting on you to make that happen.
Superintendent Jan Britz, Burbank Unified School District
Superintendent Jon R. Gundry, Pasadena Unified School District
Superintendent Joel Shapiro, South Pasadena Unified School District
Superintendent Richard M. Sheehan, Glendale Unified School District
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette, La Cañada Unified School District