California Educator

April/May 2020

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"This inequity as a result of corporate greed has had a catastrophic impact on our schools and communities, felt disproportionately in communities of color." —CTA President E. Toby Boyd — especially in our black and brown communities — are unable to prevent significant impacts to students, creat- ing a public education system where the quality of your school often depends on where you live." California's school funding has fallen behind When California's Prop. 13 passed in 1 9 7 8 t o p r o t e c t h o m e o w n e r s f r o m e r ra t i c i n c re a s e s i n t h e i r p r o p e r ty tax bills, owners of commercial and industrial properties were able to take advantage of th e sam e prot ections, and avoided paying their fair share for the public schools and local services that benefit all Californians, resulting in chronic disinvestment and under- funding. Our state now has the most overcrowded classrooms in the U.S. and widespread shortages of counselors, librarians and school nurses. The Schools and Communities First initiative, on the ballot in November 2020, closes commercial property tax loopholes. This would reclaim $12 bil- lion every year for our public schools, community colleges, and local services like first responders, parks, libraries, public transportation and health clinics. Billions in additional resources for schools would be a game changer for students and the future of our state, returning California to the time when public education was the top priority and the state led the nation in per-stu- dent funding. Today, our state ranks 39th in per-student funding — a disap- pointing fact for educators who know our students deserve better. " E v e r y d a y, I h e a r s t o r i e s f r o m t e a c h e r s w h o a r e i n c r e d i b l y f r u s - trated because their students are not getting the support that they need ," says Anita Johnson , president of Mt. Diablo Education Association. "These are stud ents w ho have exp eri enced trauma and are acting out in the class- room because of it. They are stuck in classrooms with 37 students, and the teacher does not have time to have the one-on-one conversation, make a rela- tionship and help with the trauma. SCF would help lower our class sizes so that we can help these students." Help spread the word about why it's time to put Schools and Communities First. Tell your friends and family about the opportunity to invest in our future, follow the SCF campaign on social media ( @Schools1stCA on Twitter), and visit for more information. "Let's work together to pass SCF and usher in a new era for California public education," Boyd says. "Our students are counting on us!" What does a well-funded classroom look like to you? And how will SCF help your students? "The supplies, materials, support, the school structures themselves, our phone systems. Some of our classrooms don't even have Internet!" — JEANNIE JENTZEN, Amador County Teachers Association "Class sizes are too damn big! Adding one student makes a huge difference. When a student has a disability, one of the first things we do is get them in a smaller class size setting. That's great when a student really needs it, but it's good for all students." — MICHAEL GARDNER, New Haven Teachers Association "Classrooms where each student has their own computer and doesn't need to share. Well-funded means the teacher is not buying all the supplies." — NAQIBA GREGORY, West Sacramento Teachers Association "SCF would allow us to hire some nurses because we have a really high ratio — about 1 school nurse for 3,000 students! Also, with smaller class sizes, we could reach everybody and give them more time." — KIM CHEVLIN, Murrieta Educators Association president "SCF would provide extra funding for us to have more librarians, counselors and behavior specialists, and help to give kids who are suffering from trauma the tools they need to cope. We really need this." — SUSAN SK AL A, Chula Vista Educators president "Wow, I've been teaching 25 years and I don't think I know what a well- funded classroom looks like." — JULIA MANDESON, Amador County Teachers Association Estimated Annual SCF Funding by Region Los Angeles County: $3.75 billion San Francisco Bay Area: $4.61 billion Central Valley: $447.7 million Inland Empire: $848.9 million Central Coast: $ . 6 million 5 7 0 San Diego/Imperial counties: $727.2 million Orange County: $1.1 billion Upstate/Northern California: $130.5 million Sacramento Area: $316.6 million Central Sierras: $36.4 million Source: USC Dornsife Program for Environmental and Regional Equity 35 A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0 A

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