The passionate dedication of California Governor Jerry Brown and supporters, as well as most teachers across California, finally paid off on Nov. 6 with the passage of Proposition 30.
Prop. 30, proposed by Brown, was an initiative that applied an income tax increase to citizens earning over $250,000 for seven years and a ¼ cent sales tax for four years.
These tax increases will be directed toward education. About 89 percent of the funds will go to K-12 schools and the other 11 percent to community colleges. It will help restore classes in community colleges, reduce class sizes, and subsidize extracurriculars that were in danger of being cut.
“The passage of Prop. 30 means that the state will not make $6 billion in automatic cuts to education in January which is good news,” said Superintendent Jim Negri. “However, Prop. 30 does not provide any new money to the school district in the 2012-2013 school year.”
The money will not be realized until California initiates the new 2013-2014 budget based on the new tax revenues.
The win didn’t come so easily. Teachers worked day and night to spread the word about the essentiality of this proposition.
“We stayed up well into the night to spread the word,” remembers Hayward teacher Nancy Wright. “I made signs, called people, and even went door-to-door in the days leading up to the election. And then I stood as close as I could in front of the voting booths and tried to convince some people last-minute.”
It was a close call to be sure, with a margin of a mere 717,960 votes – 53.9 percent to 46.1 percent.
Teachers were apprehensive about the chances of Prop. 30 passing, but were hopeful that Californians would realize their obligation to save education from the fatal waters of budget cuts.
“I was freaking out when I went to sleep Tuesday night,” said Wright. “It looked like it was going to fail. But it turned out okay in the end, thank God.”
Opponents were worried about how Prop. 30 would hurt small businesses. In reality, however, the tax is no different for these people as it is for the majority of other Californians.
In the long run, the tax will help produce more educated workers and will thereby actually help small businesses.
It may take awhile to feel the benefits of Prop. 30, but rest assured, it has already been put into action and will bring some much-needed revenue to our beleaguered schools.