Prop. 30 meets opposition

The calls to vote for the November ballot initiative Proposition 30 are everywhere. Advertisements in support are playing on TV, and the cries to “save education” can be heard at voter rallies across California.

The effort to urge voters to vote for Prop. 30 is at Santa Monica College too, with the college saying it won’t have to lay off any employees and cut classes if the measure passes. It’s a battle cry heard over and over again on campus so much that it might seem ubiquitous as the solution to school’s budget woes—but who opposes the ballot initiative?

Quite a few, actually; according to polling late in September, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, 40 percent of responders said they didn’t want the proposition to pass. Support for the proposition enjoyed a narrow lead at 52 percent.

According to the ballot information website Ballotpedia,supportershavespentover$41.3million trying to promote the proposition. Most of the money comes from union support like the California Teachers Association, who donated $7.7 million, and the California Service Employees International Union members, who donated $6.5 million. Only $3.1 million has been spent to defeat the measure, according to the site.

A campaign called “Stop Prop 30,” sponsored by anti-tax organization Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association in the amount of $384,000, says the taxincreasecreatedaspartofthepropositionwill hurt everyone in California.

“The fact of the matter is, there is a lot of money in education, but we do not apply it very well,” said Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Tax Foundation on KNX News Radio on Tuesday morning. Coupal also claimed that it is an overreach on the part of the governor to ask the

people of California for more money, given the current state of the flagging economy.

While many education administrators have pledged support for Prop. 30, Tom Bogetich, executive director at the California State Board of Education and Doug Boyd at the Los Angeles County Board have both argued against the proposal.

“There are no requirements or assurances that any more money actually gets to the classroom, and nothing inProp.30reformsoureducationsystemtocutwaste, eliminate bureaucracy, or cut administrative overhead,” they said in a July statement.

Critics fear that governmental bloat has allowed administrative salaries to increase exponentially while student services have been cut. They fear that Prop. 30 will give more money to the administrators who need to “backfill” unfunded mandates.

They also said that while it moves money around, it doesn’t go to fix the systemic problems at the state level. Interim California Community College Chancellor Erik Skinner says even if approved, the initiative only prevents further cuts; it does not restore funding to previous levels. “It only stops thebleeding;itdoesn’thealthepatient,”hesaid.

But Prop. 30 proponents are singing the praises of the measure in trying to assuage fears. Representatives from the California Community College Chancellor’s office admit that not all revenue from Prop. 30 will go straight to classrooms. They say some will be used to pay off money owed from past years’ deferrals.

A collection of elected officials has also joined the detractors, including Board of Trustees members from the Twin Rivers Unified School District, and theSantaClaritaCommunityCollegeDistrict.

Additionally, a competing measure called Proposition 38 will raise income taxes on most Californians as opposed to Prop 30’s 0.25 percent tax increase, and graduated income tax increase for those making $500,000 and up. California alreadyenjoysthesecondhigheststatetaxratein the nation at 8.2 percent.