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Proposition 38 Supporters Rally in the Rain for Education Tax

A small but passionate group explains why voters should support Proposition 38, a tax to fund education and early childhood programs.

Under dark grey, raining skies, Proposition 38 supporters on Thursday laid out their argument for California voters to back a tax to fund education and early childhood programs, bringing $103-plus million to San Fernando Valley schools in the 2013-2014 school year and $278 million in the 2023-24 school year.

The Yes on Proposition 38 people said money goes directly to schools and cannot be used for any other purpose, unlike Proposition 30.

"The PTA is neutral on Proposition 30,” said Cecelia Mansfield, a former president of the PTA District 31, which includes the entire San Fernando Valley. She is the current legislative advocate for the California state PTA.

“(Proposition 30) will not bring the money directly to the schools in the
amount that would be generated by (Proposition) 38. Proposition 30 is for seven years; Proposition 38 is for 12 years.”

Their rally turned news conference was held at Dearborn Park in Northridge.

Mansfield said she believes a yes vote on Proposition 38 offers stability to school funding, which has been subject to so many cuts and deferrals over the past recent years.

An estimated $20 billion has been cut from the education budget statewide during the past three years, according to Proposition 38 supporters. Schools have lost libraries, nurses, technology experts, teachers program have been cut and more during the same period.

The Nov. 6 election will be a battlefield between the two propositions.

Only one can win; the one with the highest number of votes. Proposition 38 opponents call Proposition 38 the wrong tax at the wrong time.

If Proposition 38 passes, $1.5 million could be allotted to Northridge’s Holmes International Middle School and another $429,000 to Dearborn Charter Elementary, supporters said.

“And oh what they can do with that money,” said Kristin Foster, PTA president at Holmes with one child in a traditional school and one in a charter school. “Kids need funding now and right away.”

Kailah Armstrong, 16, and a junior at Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies, said she’s on the debate team.

“In 2010, we received $2,000. In 2011, it was $1,000 and this year we received none,” Kailah said at the news conference. “We have 45 or 46 kids in a class. That’s outrageous; it affects the learning atmosphere. I can’t vote, so I hope everyone out there will vote for me.”

All of the speakers addressed the quality of the children’s education and questioned whether they will be skilled enough to hold top jobs and move the economy in a positive direction if their education is compromised.

“We are losing our librarian, a tutor after school, dedicated teachers,” said Isabel Keossian, a Holmes parent and volunteer for 18 years.  “Teachers can’t maintain and give quality education, and fund-raising is never enough.”

FACTS ABOUT Proposition 38

  • It would increase personal income tax rates for 12 years for annual earnings over $7,316 using a sliding scale from 0.4 percent for the lowest individual earners to 2.2 percent for individual earning more than $2.5 million.
  • During the first four years, 60 percent of revenues would go to schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, 30 percent to repaying state debt and 10 percent to early childhood programs. Thereafter, 85 percent of revenues would go to schools from kindergarten through 12th grade and 15 percent to early childhood programs.
  • The increase would be roughly $5 billion in the 2012-13 fiscal year, $10 billion in the 2013-2014 fiscal year and tending to increase over time, according to an estimate from the Legislative Analyst's Office and Director of Finance Ana J. Matosantos.
  • Under terms of Proposition 38, money most probably wouldn't be received by schools until late 2013, beginning of 2014. In the meantime, the state wouldn't fill a $6 billion hole written into this year's state budget.

FACTS ABOUT Proposition 30

  • Proposition 30, which is backed by Gov. Jerry Brown, would increase the sales tax by a quarter-cent on the dollar for four years and raise the income tax on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years.
  • Eighty-nine percent of the revenues from Proposition 30 would be devoted to schools from kindergarten through 12th grade and the other 11 percent to community colleges. The measure would also guarantee funding for public safety services realigned from state to local governments.
  • Proposition 30 would generate an additional $6 billion in state tax revenues from the 2012-2013 through 2016-17 fiscal years, according to anestimate from the state's Legislative Analyst's Office and Matosantos.
  • Smaller amounts would be generated in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal years.

-- City News Service contributed to this report.

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