California Educator

August 2015

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Page 39 of 63

T H A N K S T O T H E E F F O R T S of CTA members throughout California, the new 2015-16 state budget not only keeps the promise to California students, it also provides the single largest funding increase for public education in the history of California. The spending plan proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown and approved by the Legislature will boost Proposition 98 guarantee funding for K-12 schools and community colleges by $10 billion over the levels of just two years ago (see graph). The governor signed it into law on June 18. The new education funding comes after years of devastating cuts in excess of $20 billion that led to nearly 30,000 educator layoffs, larger class sizes, furlough days and cuts to vital programs. "These major restorations to our schools and programs for our students would not have happened without our hard work in our communities to gen- erate support for Proposition 30 in 2012," says CTA President Eric C. Heins. The new CTA leader points out that schools are just beginning to recover from the years of funding reductions. The state still ranks only 46th among the 50 states in per-student funding, and it ranks dead last in the ratios of school counselors and librarians to students. The budget adoption came just a few weeks after CTA mounted an intense member outreach effort in Sacramento. Educators from around the state met their lawmakers in the Capitol and shared with them personal stories about the C T A I S U R G I N G L A W M A K E R S to pass Senate Constitutional Amendment 5, by state Sens. Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) and Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles). The measure, the Property Tax Fairness Amendment, would close a main tax loophole in Proposition 13, the property tax measure enacted in 1978. SCA 5 would reassess a limited group of commercial property investors and corporations that have benefited from the loophole. These longtime landhold- ers and competitors enjoy an unfair advantage by paying very low taxes on land that has increased in value greatly over the decades. SCA 5 also provides tax relief for small businesses and protects homeown- ers, renters and agricultural land from any property tax changes. In addition, the bill sets up strict accountability requirements for the revenues generated by its provisions. CTA supports SCA 5 because it will make the state's property tax system fair and create new revenues to help rebuild the state. Vermont $18,882 National Average $11,735 California $8,308 Utah $6,688 46th In Per-Pupil Expenditures California ranked State Budget: A Record Increase Educators press lawmakers on tax fairness measure Source: Education Week, "Quality Counts 2015"; illustrator: Kathleen Kowal By Len Feldman Legislative Update 38 Advocacy L E G I S L A T I V E U P D A T E : R E C O R D S T A T E B U D G E T . . .

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