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Letter: School Districts Urge Parent Support on Propositions 30/38

School District Superintendents of the 5 Star Coalition (Pasadena, Burbank, La Canada, Glendale and South Pasadena) explain the difference between Proposition 30 and 38. Do you support one, the other or both Prop 30 and 38?

Dear Editor,

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. 

Sincerely,

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

True Freedom November 05, 2012 at 11:48 PM
@pusddad: do you think the legislature should have targeted other budgetary items for the axe instead of education, pending voter rejection of increased taxes? or, do you think education cuts were their only option?
SteveB November 06, 2012 at 12:10 AM
The "no" vote arguments seem to me like a "throw out the baby with the bath water" point of view. I recently brought my kids to PUSD, coming from a private school, and I've been pleasantly surprised - but it is clear that their resources are constrained in comparison with the private school, as well as public schools which receive significant community financial support, e.g., LCUSD. While I have generally espoused TF's point of view in the past regarding ballot box budgeting, my concerns regarding further cuts to a school that appears to be just getting by, have me leaning towards a yes on 30.
pusddad November 06, 2012 at 12:27 AM
TF: my friend, you are exactly correct that the legislature and governor purposefully left the schools hanging in this manner because they figured the electorate would most likely approve a tax increase under these circumstances. I don't know for sure whether education was the only option, but since it makes up the largest part of the budget, it had to take the hardest hit. Our state government needs an overhaul, but the kids should not pay this kind of price after years of consecutive cut backs. We already rank 47th in per pupil expenditure. Its not as if there is a lot of fat to trim.
Sandy Russell November 06, 2012 at 12:27 AM
When California State PTA (summer of 2011) asked it's membership what it's number one priority was we said the budget crisis. So, to that end, PTA worked with The Advancement Project (Molly Munger) and helped to author Prop 38 because it is money that goes directly to the schools thus avoiding all of the politics and the expected continuation of cuts to education. I can only tell you that PTA supports Prop 38 and is neutral on Prop 30.
pusddad November 06, 2012 at 12:39 AM
I do know social services, prisons and the courts took significant hits. We are handcuffed by public safety pensions that are binding contracts. I have mixed feelings about the bullet train, but it was handed to the state by the voters. we won't know whether it is good idea for at least another ten years.
Louis Educe November 06, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Did you al see this today (just got a tweet) in the StarNews? "California political watchdog names secret $11 million campaign contributors, claims they were 'money laundering'" http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/elections/ci_21932215/fppc-releases-names-donors-who-made-secret-11?source=rss "The donation, the largest anonymous contribution to a ballot measure campaign in California history, was made to the Small Business Action Committee, a conservative PAC running a campaign for Proposition 32, the measure that would curb labor's ability to collect political cash, and against Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's tax-hike initiative. "This money is so dirty it had to be laundered five times -- and it still stinks," said Brown, who'd made it a rallying cry in his campaign to "unmask" the donors." ---- Oh and it is the Teachers who are the crooks and frauds? As many have said here "FOLLOW THE MONEY" and see what cr_p turns up!
True Freedom November 06, 2012 at 06:00 AM
As easily as the legislature signed up education to take virtually all of the budgetary cuts if the tax increase fails... they can pass new legislation that undoes all that. If Prop30 fails, which I hope it does, you will see the legislature reverse their triggers and find cuts elsewhere. This is my prediction.. because there will be public scrutiny into why education was targeted instead of other budgetary items.. and no legislator will stand up and say that education was the only option.
navigio November 06, 2012 at 06:20 AM
TF, I have to admit its a valid point. I will, however, disagree with you on the likelihood of that happening. Though brown might not have too much to lose at this point I do think the dems do, especially give the amount of money that was put into these initiatives. The budget already includes about $8b in 'cuts' (to balance the budget) with over a billion to medical, half a billion to calworks and half a billion in state worker pay cuts. Ironically, I heard school board members crying more loudly about those calworks cuts than cuts to education. That said, if you believe that will happen, it might be all the more reason to vote for 38. do you feel your scenario is less likely to happen if 38 passes?
Louis Educe November 06, 2012 at 06:24 AM
I truly hope you are correct in your assessments, but from all I hear I fear you are wrong about this - and the implications of that error will have long reaching effects on our state, our school system and most importantly our kids. I hope everyone votes as there hearts lead them and are able to live with the consequences of their own decisions. It has been a very interesting, thought provoking and eye opening discussion on these blogs the past few weeks. Thanks to all who participated
navigio November 06, 2012 at 06:37 AM
One other technical point. One benefit of 30 passing is its impact on the prop 98 guarantee. That essentially makes future funding somewhat dependent on current funding. So even if the increase this year is partly a shell game, it sets a foundation for future years (assuming the recession does not continue). Similarly, if it fails it would scale back that guarantee for years to come. If they do undo the trigger cuts (again, I think unlikely) they could not undo them all so that ongoing reduction would still exist, though perhaps at a slightly reduced level. This is one reason having both of them fail is such a bad thing.
True Freedom November 06, 2012 at 08:11 AM
Second off, Prop 30 places more reliance on the top most earners. Currently, we live and die by their incomes... and it will even be worse. Thirdly, Brown didn't have to go to the voters to raise taxes. He says he's doing it to stick to his campaign promise of not raising taxes without voter approval. This may be true, or it may be that he's rolling the dice hoping the voters will give him the easy way out... easy in that he doesn't have to make tough choices on other budgetary items besides education. He (and the legislature) could raise taxes without voter approval. No easy way out, Jerry. Put your political clout, and career, on the line and make the tough choices. I'm not giving Jerry and the legislators the easy way out. I'm not opening my wallet yet again, so they don't have to make the tough choices.
Jay Tee November 06, 2012 at 08:26 AM
NO NO NO on 30 & 38. NO MO MONEY for the CROOKS!
Jay Tee November 06, 2012 at 08:27 AM
and.... NOBAMA 2012!
Tony Brandenburg November 06, 2012 at 02:40 PM
no on both. time for everyone to roll up their sleeves and deal with it. dumping more money into a sieve will not change a broken system.
Mike Roberts November 06, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Isn't Prop 30 only going to fill the hole created when Moonbeam takes $$$ outta the education budget? That's why Prop 30 doesn't provide new $$ for schools. It just holds the line, right?
David V. November 06, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Prop 30 prevents $5.9 billion dollars in cuts. The choice is: Yes on 30, and keep things as they are; or no, and suffer nearly $6 billion in cuts.
David V. November 06, 2012 at 04:46 PM
There simply isn't enough money to just "deal with it." Spending in California is down by over 20% since 2007. To vote against Prop 30 is to inflict devastating cuts on education in this state. To vote against Prop 30 is to vote against the children of this state and to vote against upward mobility. Plus, the system is *not* broken. Public education has been an engine of economic growth and upward mobility for generations. It works. Vote no on 30 if you want to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
David V. November 06, 2012 at 04:47 PM
To vote against Prop 30 is to vote against California's children, simply put.
Gregory Brittain November 06, 2012 at 09:25 PM
If supporting tax increases = being for kids and opposing tax increases is being against kids, then I propose we double Brown's and the GEU's tax increase. If you do not support the next tax increase then you are against the kids.
navigio November 06, 2012 at 09:34 PM
38 is almost double 30's revenue, so maybe that option is already on the ballot.
Gregory Brittain November 06, 2012 at 09:36 PM
More data on what the Dems and GEUs have done to California. http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2012/11/more-data-on-california-being-outpaced-by-the-country/ “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” John Adams I know what to do. Let’s raise taxes. It’s for the kids.
navigio November 06, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom. - John Adams
navigio November 06, 2012 at 09:45 PM
I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain. John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, 1780
navigio November 06, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties, and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of people, it shall be the duty of legislators and magistrates... to cherish the interest of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them. - John Adams
Gregory Brittain November 07, 2012 at 12:49 AM
And what was the income tax rate in John Adams' time?
navigio November 07, 2012 at 12:54 AM
C'mon Gregory, are you saying he didn't say those things out of principal rather out of opportunism?
Gregory Brittain November 07, 2012 at 03:07 AM
I agree with everything Adams said in those quotes, other than the third generation gets to study poetry instead of work for a living and that only the first generation needs to learn the arts of war. My point was we educated children with much less money and much less government and did better job of it in the past. The problems with the expensive government education system that ranges from terrible to mediocre require more than 1200 characters to address. For as long as I have any political memory, improving education has been an issue. The government has spent more and more money with declining quality. Putting the children first requires major reform. Experience has shown trying to reforming the government run education system is futile. Only through choice and competition will the children receive a better education.
David V. November 07, 2012 at 03:58 AM
Gregory, nonsense. You are misusing the past, as is the Tea Party's custom. (Read Jill Lepore, The Whites of Their Eyes, for a wonderful study of the real 18th century vs. the Tea Party's fantasy version.) We educated a small portion of the population in John Adams' day. We didn't bother with people with disabilities. We didn't bother educating poor people or even the middling sort. Half the country was slaveholding, and educating slaves was illegal. You can't compare the work we try to do now with the limited efforts we used to put forth. And because we have so many more people to educate, whose education demands, yes, resources, we as a society have to fund it adequately. We have neglected that responsibility of late, because of our shameful unwillingness to tax those who can easily afford it.
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True Freedom December 19, 2012 at 11:22 PM
@pusdad: private school families in Pasadena provide far more funds via taxes to PUBLIC education.. than families whose children attend public school in Pasadena.

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