California Educator

November 2015

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Page 42 of 59

I n October, CTA's State Council endorsed a 2016 ballot measure to temporarily extend Proposition 30's income tax increases on the wealthiest earners, an effort to stabilize the state budget and pro- tect school funding. As a result of Prop. 30, passed with considerable educator effort in 2012, this year's state budget for public education saw the biggest single funding increase in the history of California. e funding has partially offset catastrophic cuts made to public education during the recession. Prop. 30's income tax rates expire at the end of 2018. e Alliance for a Better California (ABC), a coalition of labor, school, community and public safety groups including CTA, submitted earlier this fall the School Funding and Budget Stability Act, the ballot measure to tempo- rarily extend those taxes on some of the wealthiest residents. e measure would continue to boost income tax rates on couples earning more than $500,000 a year for 12 years, with the proceeds sup- porting K-12 schools and community colleges. Prop. 30's quarter-cent sales tax increase would expire as planned at the end of 2016. "Temporarily extending these critical revenues will help keep our state budget balanced, and prevent devastating cuts to programs affecting students, seniors, working families and health care," says Gale Kaufman, ABC spokesperson. e initiative, which would generate $8 billion to $9 billion a year and run through 2030, was unanimously approved by CTA State Council in October. Prop. 30 taxes have so far provided $24 billion for California's classrooms. During the recession, California cut more than $56 billion from edu- cation, health care and other vital state and local services, triggering thousands of teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, higher college tuition fees, and reductions in essential public services. e state ranks 46th in per-pupil funding, according to an Education Week study released earlier this year and based on 2012 data. CTA President Eric Heins points to projections from the California Department of Finance showing that the state could see the return of budget deficits in the near future if Prop. 30's tax increases on the wealthiest residents are not extended. "We would once again run the severe risk of our public schools and critical services being slashed," Heins says. "For the sake of our stu- dents, seniors, communities and working families, we can't afford not to pass the School Funding and Budget Stability Act." Extending Prop. 30 would avoid devastating budget cuts Keep Education Funding Steady iPad purchasing debacle that was ultimately investigated by the FBI. Deasy, who testified for the plain- tiffs in the Vergara trial attacking professional rights for teachers, has taken a job as an adviser to Students Matter, the organization that brought that suit. e proposed expansion of "private" charter schools is not new territory for Broad. His foundation has been a major investor and key player in the post-Katrina charter school incursion into New Orleans, making it the only city in the nation where the majority of schools are privately run charters. In fact, the foundation hired one of the architects of that expansion, former Louisiana Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek, to oversee the LA effort. UTLA has made fighting this attack on public schools and its students a top priority. Additional protests have been held, and at CTA's October State Council meeting Caputo-Pearl urged members to join in the fight. "We look forward to going into battle with Eli Broad and Walmart," he said. "While this is a threat, we think it's an opportunity" to expose the real agenda of those behind the privatization of all public schools. He reminded dele- gates that Broad secretly funded a "dark money" attempt to kill Prop. 30, the 2012 initiative that saved California schools from more devastating cuts, and to pass the anti-union Prop. 32. UTLA/NEA Vice President Cecily Myart-Cruz stresses the need to hold elected officials accountable on the Broad plan. She wants to make clear that it is the raiding of public schools for financial gain and the exploitation of non-unionized workers in Broad-style charters that are problematic, and not the existence of all public char- ter schools (UTLA represents and continues to organize many charter school workers, as does CTA). "is is about more than just LAUSD and UTLA," says Eric Heins, CTA president. "is is a fight to save public education as we know it and let the billionaires know our schools aren't for sale." More than 700 UTLA members march to protest Eli Broad's attack on public education. 41 November 2015

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