Educate Our State is a grassroots, parent-led organization educating and uniting Californians to advocate for
systemic change that will provide all students with a high-quality public education. Add your voice now!

Yes for Education - Frequently Asked Questions

Background:

Educate Our State is urging a Yes for Education vote on the two education initiatives on the November ballot: the Governor’s Proposition 30 and the Advancement Project/PTA’s Proposition 38. Why? In order to preserve existing K-12 programs, prevent class sizes from ballooning, and avoid
even further shortening of the current 175 day school year.

Why should parents and other public school backers support Proposition 30 and Proposition 38? What are the benefits of supporting both?

Both propositions will direct billions of dollars to schools and make spending of those funds more accountable. They use different mechanisms for the similar goals. Both will do what is claimed in initiative language – direct needed funds to schools. Some Californians are supporting one
proposition over the other. Unfortunately, this may lead voters to split their votes of support and result in the failure of both measures. If BOTH pass, we will be sending a strong message to Sacramento that voters DO care about education and that it should be a priority for California once again.

If both pass, will I get taxed twice?

No. If both propositions pass, the personal income tax of only one will be implemented under California law. The proposition with the greatest number of yes votes will win, and the revenue from the winner will flow to schools.

Supporting both Proposition 30 and Proposition 38 makes it more likely that some funding will flow to public schools. Regardless of which ballot measure receives the greatest number of votes, our schools win.

Which one is better? Some say that Proposition 38 (also known as Our Children, Our Future) is better than the governor’s initiative, Proposition 30? Is that true?

There are many opinions on this subject, but the bottom line is that each initiative uses a different funding formula to accomplish essentially the same basic aim – to direct desperately needed revenue to K-12 schools.

Because both are viable solutions that temporarily direct needed funding to schools, Educate Our State feels it is best to support both Proposition 30 and Proposition 38.

What will happen if Proposition 30 does not pass?

Education funding in California has been cut and deferred by $20 billion over the past four years, leading to larger class sizes and reduction of the school year from 180 instructional days to 175. Under Proposition 30, $6-$9 billion would be raised, a portion of which would go to K-12 education.

Because the current state budget is constructed with Proposition 30 revenue included, if Proposition 30 doesn’t pass, another $451 per student--more than $4.8 billion--will be cut from K-12 education midway through the 2012-13 school year. If Proposition 30 fails but Proposition 38 passes, then there would likely be a reduction in education funding for this year, followed by stabilization and then a substantial increase in education funding in a few years.

What will happen if Proposition 38 does not pass?

Under Proposition 38, around $6-$8.5 billion each year would be invested directly into K-12 schools through a separate fund “locker” that the state government and legislature would be unable to touch. If Proposition 38 fails, but Proposition 30 passes, education funding would stabilize at roughly current levels.

What will happen if both propositions fail?

School districts will decide independently how to implement the drastic loss of revenue, but the following has already occurred for some districts or is slated to occur to cope with the loss:

  • A school year shorted by 15 more days, to 160 instructional days. A shortened year impacts student learning and reduces the breadth and depth of the material that teachers can cover each school year. This will have long-term implications for student retention, achievement and performance.
  • Larger class sizes. Some schools are already at state maximums, but others can increase class sizes even more.
  • Lower educational outcomes. With fewer days and fewer classroom resources, California students will fall further behind their peers in other states and countries, leaving California students less able to compete in the U.S and globally.
  • More and deeper cuts. Bus service, teachers’ aides, counselors, nurses, and funding for “non-essential” programs like art, science and GATE have already been cut in schools across the state, but districts will be forced to cut even more programs and services.
  • School closures. Layoffs and larger class sizes often lead to school closure and consolidation as districts try to cut costs any way they can.

More generally, failure of both will send a message to Sacramento that voters don’t care about education, which could have long-term implications in the ability to make education a priority with legislators, including a lack of commitment to stabilize education funding.

The trigger cut to education is just a threat—they won’t really do it, right?

Because the state has already budgeted the revenue generated by Proposition 30 into the 2012-13 state budget, they will have to cut something by $6 billion. Education currently comprises roughly 50% of the state budget, and historically, education has borne more than its fair share of cuts to the budget. Even if the legislature tries to spare education, it would be unrealistic to believe that education will not sustain the bulk of the $6 billion trigger cut.

Why is a Yes-Yes vote so important?

There are many Californians who are hurting from the poor economy and/or who just generally oppose new taxes. That’s why most surveys show both propositions with only a 50/50 chance of passing.

We certainly understand how hard it is to vote for new taxes. Yet Educate Our State is taking this urgent stand to support our schools, which will head downhill without these necessary and temporary funds. Some or all of the negative consequences listed above are a certainty if neither proposition passes. A vote for both sends a clear message of how badly funds are needed and desired, and increases the chance of one passing which will stabilize the educational opportunity of the 6.2 million children in our state.

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