With Election Day looming, ACSA continues to strongly urge a Yes vote on Proposition 30, as well as a No vote on Prop. 32. The association is also now recommending a No vote on Prop. 31.
ACSA believes Prop. 30, the Schools and Safety Protection Act, is a balanced solution that will reduce the budget deficit and protect schools and students from deeper cuts. After several years of massive cuts, this initiative aims to balance California’s state budget without raising income taxes on those hit hardest by the recession.
“School funding has been cut by more than $20 billion in recent years, and the risks to our students have never been greater,” said Interim Executive Director Karen Stapf Walters. “If this proposition does not pass, schools face more than $5 billion in additional cuts next year. We strongly urge school communities to rally behind this revenue solution that helps prevent more cuts and uncertainties.”
ACSA joins a broad coalition of support for Prop. 30, including the governor, legislative leaders, businesses, education groups, labor unions and community organizations. In addition, many major newspaper and media outlets have recommended a Yes vote on Prop. 30.
As school leaders know all too well, California schools already have the largest class sizes in the nation, and art, music, vocational education and after-school programs have been eliminated. School libraries are closed. Home-to-school transportation services and critical academic programs are decimated.
“The link between having an educated workforce and the economic health of our state is obvious,” Stapf Walters said. “We strongly believe Prop. 30 is the right choice for our schools and students.”
ACSA is also opposed to Prop. 32, the Special Exemptions Act. This initiative would make it virtually impossible for education leaders to have a political voice in advocating for schools, students and their profession. Prop. 32 prohibits ACSA members from voluntarily contributing to political campaigns, even with written permission, while billionaires could continue to contribute unlimited amounts of money to secretive Super PACs.
Instead of creating a level playing field, Prop. 32 would create special exemptions for corporate special interests and billionaires, giving them even more political power to write their own set of rules, while cutting educators out of the political process.
Many major newspapers have endorsed a No vote on Prop. 32. The L.A. Times called it a “deceptive measure,” and the San Jose Mercury News described it as a “deceptive sham.”
Recently, the No on Prop. 32 campaign filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission, requesting it investigate two Yes on 32 campaign committees and compel them to disclose $8 million combined in media payments made to broadcast stations prior to Sept. 30. The No on Prop. 32 campaign posited the two committees in question have ignored the requirements of the Political Reform Act.
“While Super PACs may be able to legally hide their donors, they are required to play by the same rules as all other political committees active in California ballot measure campaigns,” stated the complaint filed by the No on Prop. 32 committee.
Meanwhile at the recent ACSA PAC Board meeting, a position was taken to oppose Prop. 31, the Government Performance and Accountability Act. This proposition has not garnered much attention, but it is a proposal that could have adverse effects on education funding.
The proposition would change the state budget to a two-year process, and require clear funding sources for any new program – or tax cut – in excess of $25 million. The kicker for schools is that Prop. 31 would give the governor increased unilateral power to implement budget cuts in times of fiscal emergency.
Although the proposition would have no immediate impact on Prop. 98 funding, the objection ACSA has is that it would give the governor increased powers to make mid-year cuts to schools. Naturally this would put schools in an untenable position, since law already decrees schools must budget for the entire year ahead of time – often, it should be pointed out, before the state has officially passed a budget letting schools know how much funding they will get in the coming school year.
In addition, Prop. 31’s proposal to make the state budget a two-year process would be difficult to implement. It would require the Legislature to reserve a part of its session for oversight and review of public programs. It would also increase paperwork, as local governments would have to evaluate the effectiveness of their programs, delineate how their budgets meet the various objectives and then report on progress in meeting those objectives.
For more information on ACSA’s election positions, visit www.acsa.org/election.