Campaign season is upon us. How do we know? Because the airwaves are filled with misleading campaign advertisements on the radio, such as the one from the Howard Jarvis Tax Association that twists a statement from my association in order to advance their agenda and mislead the public. Fortunately, I know the public isn't as gullible as they would like to believe. Here are the facts that the public needs to know about Proposition 30:
The California School Boards Association and other education associations that make up the Education Coalition, including the California Teachers Association, the California Federation of Teachers, Association of California School Administrators, the California School Employees Association, as well as county superintendents and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson all support Proposition 30.
School districts and county boards of education across the state have passed resolutions in support of Proposition 30.
The CSBA supports Proposition 30 because it will direct billions of dollars to cash-strapped schools. Its passage would enable districts to restore student programs, services and classroom teaching and instructional assistant positions cut in the past four years due to the state's disinvestment in public education.
If Proposition 30 fails at the polls, schools will be cut by another $457 per student roughly another $5.5 billion funding reduction. If Proposition 30 is not approved, the 2012-13 state budget authorizes school districts to reduce the school year up to 15 days.
Since 2008, K-12 public schools have weathered $20 billion in cuts and deferrals. According to the state's non-partisan Legislative Analyst, if Proposition 30 receives voter approval on Nov. 6, public schools will realize an additional $2.9 billion in the current year and an additional $2.4 billion from fiscal years 2013-14 through 2015-16. The Legislative Analyst also states that without Proposition 30, K-12 funding will remain 14 percent below what it was in pre-recession 2007-08. The passage of Proposition 30 is needed to stop the funding reductions to the public education system, which is already grossly underfunded in comparison with other states. California ranks 47th out of the 50 states in per pupil spending.
Poll after poll shows that the public is deeply concerned about the cuts that schools have been forced to make recently. Why? Because the electorate isn't as stupid as the Howard Jarvis Tax Association would like to believe. Voters know that our schools have been devastated financially and that many programs have been compromised due to the state's disinvestment in public education.
The CSBA doesn't have the big bucks like the Howard Jarvis Tax Association to buy expensive airtime to set the record straight. Therefore, we urge the public to visit the independent, nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Web site to get the facts and talk to principals and teachers to find out what will happen if schools lose an additional $5.5 billion in funding this year.
Billy is executive director of the California School Boards Association. The Legislative Analyst Web site is www.lao.ca.gov.