"We are coming out of the worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression and our schools and students have paid for it."
Those were the words of San Juan Teachers Association President Shannon Brown, who spoke in favor of two state propositions Tuesday night at a voters education forum held at Rio Americano High School. The forum, which also included information on local Measure N, was a senior project organized by Sabine Wilson, a CIVITAS student.
Measure N is a $350 million school facilities bond that will provide funding to maintain and improve schools in the San Juan district. Kent Kern, assistant superintendent of operations and school support, said the money would serve three primary goals: to provide technology infrastructure upgrades, create energy consumption upgrades, and replace portable classrooms with permanent structures.
Proposition 30 would raise sales tax by three percent and income tax on people making over $250,000 a year, with the increases phased out by 2019. Brown said Prop 30 stops cuts to education and puts minimum funding in place by "asking the wealthy to pay more so the middle class don't have to further bear the burden."
Speaking against Prop 30 was David Wolfe, a member of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, who said the tax isn't really temporary and doesn't actually provide any new money to schools. "There is no justification for higher taxes," he said.
Proposition 38 would boost personal income tax on a sliding scale, setting the money aside to fund education and early childhood programs. Shannon Scott Dow of the "Yes on Proposition 38" group said California class sizes are the worst in the country, and money from Prop 38 would help lower those numbers. Wolfe again said it's an unnecessary tax that won't necessarily help schools.