Education Propositions Generate Controversy

Whitney Tyler, Staff Writer

Two statewide propositions and one district wide measure on the November ballot will greatly affect funding for San Juan schools.
Proposition 30 is a set of tax increases proposed by Governor Jerry Brown. Proposition 30 raises state sales tax by 3.45 percent from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent for four years, and it raises state income tax for those making over $250,000 per year for seven years. If passed, it will provide $6.8 billion in additional revenue for the state in fiscal year 2012-2013 alone.
Four speakers came to the campus last month to discuss the ballot initiatives.
David Wolfe, a member of the Howard Jarvis taxpayers association, spoke against Proposition 30.
“California has the second highest income tax,” Wolfe said. “People will leave to states that do not have income taxes.”
“[Proposition 30] adds a tax which would not be temporary but which will affect people forever.”
Shannon Brown, President of the San Juan Teachers Association, spoke in favor of the initiative.
“If this proposition does not pass, school will be shortened by about three weeks because of furlough days,” she said.
“Businesses favor Proposition 30 because they think schools do not deserve more cuts.”
Indeed, Principal Ginter has had to move back graduation to Monday, May 20 in the event that the school can not remain open very much longer due to furloughs if Proposition 30 does not pass.
Those students planning on attending college, whether it be a UC, CSU, or a California Community College, would be affected by Proposition 30 failing at the polls. Both the CSU and UC systems would face a cut of $250 million. The California Community Colleges would be impacted by an even larger cut of $338 million. The California School Boards Association states that Proposition 30 “does not provide new funding for schools. Instead, it bolsters the General Fund with new revenue.” This means that Proposition 30 doesn’t expressly guarantee that any of the revenue it raises will be used for school funding.
Senior Tessa Stangl’s CIVITAS senior project partly covered Proposition 30. She’s against it. Her mother, a small business owner, was on a panel speaking against Proposition 30.
“It’s a total sham. It’s more taxes we’re going to be paying that isn’t even guaranteed to go to the schools,” she said. “It can be used for anything the politicians decide to use it for.”
“It’s more bureaucracy and wasteful government spending as usual.”
Another ballot initiative that would affect San Juan schools is Proposition 38. Proposition 38, proposed by attorney Molly Munger, raises state income tax for twelve years. However, a majority of the revenue raised by 38, expected to be $10 billion per year, would go towards K-12 education. Propositions 30 and 38 have generated controversy from taxpayers who feel that they’re paying enough to a state which wastes too much money on non-education related endeavors.
“I think it’s sad that the state legislature was unable to fund education and safety the way it should by putting other funds before education,” United States and World History teacher Rocco Marrongelli said. “It’s shameful to ask taxpayers for more money when education was not was not the legislature’s first choice in the first place.” Marrongelli doubts that either proposition will pass considering the political climate, with many people angry about taxes. However, he concedes that Proposition 38 would be the better of the two. “It’s probably better for schools than Proposition 30 simply because the money will go right to the schools,” he said. “Then again, it’s sad the taxpayers will have to give more to education which should be a legislative priority.” History teacher William Taylor disagrees. “Furlough days sound fun, but it means that you can’t fund colleges and by not funding colleges, it is harder for students to get into them,” Taylor said.
“You get less education. Schools will be underfunded.”
The third initiative is Measure N. Measure N would allow the San Juan Unified School District to issue $350 million in bonds to repair schools and classrooms in disrepair.
The bonds would also be used to increase energy efficiency and would be issued at a time when interest rates are historically low.
Marrongelli is okay with the bond measure.
“I’m okay with the bond measures if the people of the school want to improve infrastructure of their schools,” he said. “I can understand it to improve those areas, though I think it will be hard to pass anymore bonds considering the economic climate.”