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By Tammye McDuff
Schools across the state are advocating for Proposition 55 an extension of the Proposition 30 Income Tax Increase Initiative, which is on the November 8 ballot as an initiated constitutional amendment.
A “yes” vote supports extending the personal income tax increases on incomes over $250,000 approved in 2012 for 12 years in order to fund education and healthcare. A “no” vote opposes extending the personal income tax increases on incomes over $250,000 approved in 2012 for 12 years.
‘Yes on 55’ has received $49 million, with the two largest contributions coming from the California Hospitals Committee on Issues and California Teachers Association/Issues PAC. ‘No on Proposition 55’ has not raised any funds. An average of polls since August 2015 shows support for Proposition 55 near 60 %. The California Democratic Party supports the measure, and the California Republican Party opposes it.
Prop 55 continues to allocate 89% of tax revenue to K-12 schools and 11% to California Community Colleges. Additionally it will allot up to $2 billion per year in certain years for healthcare programs.
Proposition 55 would continue the tax rates instituted by Proposition 30 through 2030. The tax increase impacts the 1.5 percent of Californians with a single income filing of at least $263,000 or a joint income filing of at least $526,000.
The fiscal impact statement for this initiative authorized for circulation and prepared by the state’s legislative analyst and its director of finance states Prop 55 will:
The ABCUSD held a mini demonstration at Haskell Middle School on October 6th. President of the Federation of Teachers Greg Caer stated they were trying to make people aware of Prop 55. He states that Prop 30 has really helped the schools with more teachers and class size reductions, supplied new learning materials, technology and helps to repair dilapidated furniture. “We need that funding ongoing, even if it is 89%. Without that we would be right back where we were in the recession.” For ABCUSD this means $27 million a year that goes back into the classrooms. With these funds California has risen from 50th to rank 46th in the nation for funding.
Vince LaRosa, Artesia High School Phys Ed teacher has been with the school since 1980 and with the district since 1972, “It really doesn’t cost anybody any more money. There has been a remarkable change in the schools since the original Prop 30,” stated LaRosa,” The classes have air conditioning, new field and track, new stadium, a lot more computers, the difference in the schools between 1980 and now has been phenomenal.”
Dawn Heeren, Vice President of Special Education said, “Those students that have special needs impact our general budget. When this budget shrinks, then our students, the most vulnerable, are hurt and we have to fight for what they need. This money ensures that we will make sure that happens.” Heeren says no matter where the Union would have stood on this proposition she would have voted for it. “A consistent 89% is better than not knowing what we can supply our students.”
According to the Public Relations Department of Cerritos College California’s per-student funding is among the lowest in the nation, which is why the passage of Proposition 55, the Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act of 2016, is critical to continue much-needed funding for K-12 districts and community colleges across the state.
Without the passage of Proposition 55, California’s education funding will drop significantly once again. Proposition 55 will extend taxes for 12 years and adds a healthcare component for students, which ensures the long-term fiscal stability of California’s public schools. Cerritos College joins school districts and community colleges across the state in support of Proposition 55 to invest in California’s future and provide high-quality educational opportunities for students.
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