Parents’ Election Guide Part III: Five Questions (And Answers!) on Dueling Education Propositions

Parents’ Election Guide Part III: Five Questions (And Answers!) on Dueling Education Propositions

Sam Hodgson

Five-year-olds Isaac Hamm and Cash Adams share books during their first day of kindergarten in Ocean Beach.

 

There are two propositions on this November’s ballot that could each have a significant effect on how much money gets sent to California’s schools.

For our third parents’ guide to the election, we’ve identified five key questions to help you understand the main differences between the two and how each would work.

First, some background: Proposition 30 is a tax initiative pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Proposition 38 is a separate tax increase, sponsored by education advocate Molly Munger.

It’s important to understand that these are entirely separate efforts. Only one of these, the one that wins the most votes, can pass. That’s led to animosity between the two camps, which have started to duke it out in television ad campaigns.

The core takeaway: Both propositions would raise taxes and use that money for local schools.

1. Who pays higher taxes, how much and for how long?

• Proposition 30: Everyone, but wealthy people pay a lot more. The proposition would increase California’s sales tax by a quarter-cent for every dollar, and would increase income tax rates on Californians who earn more than $250,000 a year. The taxes would drop off after seven years.

• Proposition 38: Everyone, but wealthy people still pay more. Anyone making more than $7,316 a year would pay more in taxes, and the tax rate would increase on a sliding scale. The bottom earners would pay an extra 0.4 percent tax, while those earning more than $2.5 million a year would pay 2.2 percent more. These taxes would last 12 years.

2. How much money would it raise?

• Proposition 30: Depends who you ask. Brown’s camp estimates the tax will bring in about $9 billion extra a year. But the independent state legislative analyst’s office pegs the amount closer to $6 billion.

• Proposition 38: A few billion this year, $10 billion next year and likely more after that. This proposal, with its broader tax base, raises significantly more money, but that money wouldn’t really start flowing until the 2013–2014 school year.

3. What can the money be spent on?

• Proposition 30: Education (mostly) and public safety. Here’s the big difference between the two propositions when it comes to funding schools: Proposition 30 only guarantees that funding from the new taxes will go to schools this school year. After that, the California Legislature is required by law to spend at least 40 percent of it on education under Proposition 98, though opponents worry that the state could try and direct the money elsewhere in its archaic budget.

A key element of Proposition 30 is that Brown has threatened to cut state education funding by about $6 billion if it doesn’t pass. If that happens, school districts will suddenly see their funding slashed by about 10 percent, and will have to bring in measures to deal with that loss of revenue.

The San Diego Unified school board recently approved a deal with the local teachers union that would cut the school year by three weeks in the event that Proposition 30 fails.

• Proposition 38: Education and paying down debt: This proposal would create a separate fund of money fed by the new taxes. That fund would be walled off from the rest of the budget controlled by the legislature and a proportion of the funds would be sent directly to schools to spend on educational programs. A chunk of the money would also be spent on preschool and child care.

For the first five years, about 30 percent of the new revenue would also be used to pay down existing state debt from education spending. After those five years, that money would be redirected to schools.

It’s unclear whether the governor’s threatened education cuts would go through if Proposition 38 passes. San Diego Unified has pledged to sit down with the teachers union if this happens and thrash out a new deal.

4. Who supports it?

• Proposition 30 is supported by Brown, the California Democratic Party, the League of Women Voters and the two major teachers unions, the California Teachers Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

• Proposition 38: Has a less broad base of support. The main proponents are Munger herself and the California State Parent Teachers Association.

5. Who opposes it?

• Proposition 30 is opposed by the head of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the California Republican Party.

• Proposition 38 is opposed by the president of the California Chamber of Commerce.

• The supporters of Proposition 30 and 38 have taken an increasingly combative stance against the competing tax measure in recent weeks.

Will Carless is an investigative reporter at Voice of San Diego currently focused on local education. You can reach him at will.carless@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5670.

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Will Carless

Will Carless

Will Carless is the former head of investigations at Voice of San Diego. He currently lives in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he is a freelance foreign correspondent and occasional contributor to VOSD. You can reach him at will.carless.work@gmail.com.

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12 comments
Richard Bagnell
Richard Bagnell subscriber

How can I find out if my child's teacher is one of the 5% who vote in union elections and participate in the union or are one of the 95% forced to join and pay dues by California law?

RB
RB

How can I find out if my child's teacher is one of the 5% who vote in union elections and participate in the union or are one of the 95% forced to join and pay dues by California law?

Bob Sanche
Bob Sanche subscriber

People who hate Cal Teachers Union forget that they are hating their child's classroom teacher because that teacher is CTA. Stop bashing unions that actually are protecting your children from unscrupulous politicians. Go to CTA.org and see what they do rather than listen to others who don't know what they are talking about. There is such a disrespect of teachers in the American Society.

Jewel
Jewel

People who hate Cal Teachers Union forget that they are hating their child's classroom teacher because that teacher is CTA. Stop bashing unions that actually are protecting your children from unscrupulous politicians. Go to CTA.org and see what they do rather than listen to others who don't know what they are talking about. There is such a disrespect of teachers in the American Society.

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin subscribermember

The Legislature has expressed its intent to address the long-term health of the fund in the 2013-14 legislative session.

mgland
mgland

The Legislature has expressed its intent to address the long-term health of the fund in the 2013-14 legislative session.

Jim Withers
Jim Withers subscriber

Great piece in the LA Times this morning on how the unions' (mainly the Cal Teachers Union) are putting far more money into stopping proposition 32 rather than promoting more funding with prop 30. Not a surprise that CTA is going to opt to keep its own house afloat rather than stay true to their word on caring about kids education. This may be as good an explanation for why Prop 30 seems to be tanking in the polls in recent days as any.

Wiz1
Wiz1

Great piece in the LA Times this morning on how the unions' (mainly the Cal Teachers Union) are putting far more money into stopping proposition 32 rather than promoting more funding with prop 30. Not a surprise that CTA is going to opt to keep its own house afloat rather than stay true to their word on caring about kids education. This may be as good an explanation for why Prop 30 seems to be tanking in the polls in recent days as any.

Kelly Donivan
Kelly Donivan subscriber

No more money for me...I did get good news, however; my property taxes dropped enough to make one full month of tuition for my daughter's Catholic school that actually educates rather than indoctrinates.

Genxer65
Genxer65

No more money for me...I did get good news, however; my property taxes dropped enough to make one full month of tuition for my daughter's Catholic school that actually educates rather than indoctrinates.