By Guy Moore, president of the Mt. Diablo Education Association, and Steven Lawrence, Ph.D., superintendent of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District:
Over the past four years, K-12 education, community colleges, California State University, and University of California systems have suffered the effects of over $20 billion in cuts. During this same period of time, over thirty thousand teachers have been laid off, class sizes have increased and essential programs and services have been eliminated.
In the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) we have: significantly increased the number of students in each class; reduced the number of administrators, counselors, librarians, custodians, maintenance, and other support providers; reduced our elementary music and art programs; and relied on voluntary contributions and fundraising to keep our high school athletic programs going.
This November, voters have an opportunity to stop the reductions in education funding by passing Proposition 30. Prop 30 temporarily raises the income tax rate on the top 2% of wage earners in the state. Individuals who earn more than $250,000 per year, and couples who earn in excess of $500,000, would see their taxes increase by 1% over a seven year period. The state sales tax would also increase by ¼ of 1% for four years. This amounts to a twenty-five cent increase in sales tax per hundred dollars spent.
If Prop 30 fails, it will result in an estimated $440 per-student loss to the current year MDUSD budget, or the equivalent of $13.5 million in lost revenue between January and June of 2013. In order to address this possible financial catastrophe, district employees have agreed to shorten their respective work years by an amount equivalent to a 6% pay cut, which would mean up to eleven less instructional days for students if Prop 30 fails. As a result, the 2012-13 school year could end by May 30, 2013.
The choice for education is clear. Voting Yes on Prop 30 will stabilize education funding in the short term ensuring that our students will receive a full 180 days of instruction this school year. The MDUSD School Board passed, along with Acalanes, Antioch, Lafayette, Martinez, Orinda, Pittsburg, Pleasanton, and Walnut Creek school districts, resolutions supporting Proposition 30.
In order to be ready for college and have the skills necessary to compete in a global economy, our children simply cannot afford to take any further reductions in programs or services. Doing so will not only limit our children’s future opportunities, it will continue to erode the business and economic development in California.
Please join teachers, education support personnel, and administrators across California and vote YES on Proposition 30 on November 6th. California’s students and economic future need a strong pre-school through university educational system.
What are your thoughts on Prop 30? Comment below.