Santa Barbara High School

Paul Wellman (file)

Santa Barbara High School

Prop. 30 Buys Schools Breathing Room

City College Adding 110 Spring Sections

Saturday, November 10, 2012
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As members of the Santa Barbara education cabal milled around El Paseo restaurant on election night, they were fairly confident about the passage of two local parcel taxes, A and B. The numbers looked good right away. But as the night dragged on, support for Proposition 30 — the governor’s grand scheme to stave off education cuts while buying time to get the state’s fiscal house in order — remained below 50 percent.

When SBCC President Lori Gaskin left El Paseo, the measure’s prospects still looked gloomy. School district communications chief Barbara Keyani texted regular updates to Superintendent David Cash, who was at a conference in Texas. By the time the early risers had gone home to catch some shut-eye, leaving behind only the heartiest of revelers, the polling slowly began inching up from 46 percent to 47 percent to 48 percent, and when it was just below 50, Democratic Central Committee chair Daraka Larimore-Hall predicted that the measure would pass with only large liberal urban districts remaining to be counted. His call was correct, and in the end, the proposition sailed through with 54 percent of the vote.

Prop. 30 will levy a quarter-percent sales tax and increase income taxes for seven years on those earning over $250,000 per year, purportedly stanching nearly $6 billion in education cuts immediately. Most school systems had budgeted assuming the measure would fail. SBCC prepared two separate budgets. Santa Barbara Unified instituted seven furlough days for teachers and shortened the school year by five days, assuming that the failure of Prop. 30 would cost about $6 million. With the passage of Prop. 30, however, those five days could be added back.

It will take about eight weeks, however, the district’s business guru Meg Jette said, before schools have a clear idea of how much cash they can expect (lending some credence to the worries of Prop. 30 opponents that the state will hoard or squander the money). At that point, the district will commence bargaining with the union.

City College Executive Vice President Jack Friedlander said that the college will add 110 core credit classes that it would not have offered if Prop. 30 had failed. Gaskin told The Santa Barbara Independent, “After a protracted period of penetrating budget cuts, the relief provided by the passage of Proposition 30 is welcome and desperately needed. It has saved SBCC from an additional cut of $4.6 million dollars and the resulting elimination of dozens of course sections. That the proposition was supported by the citizens of this state affirms that our mission of putting reality to the educational dreams of our students is a noble and worthy cause.”

University of California students will be spared a 20 percent (or $2,400) tuition increase, and Cal State students will actually receive a refund of $249 after a tuition increase instituted this fall is reversed.

Larimore-Hall believes that the youth vote made all the difference, proving wrong recent polling that showed insufficient support from likely voters. For this election, the Democrats registered a record 12,000 students at UCSB. “When you’re polling likely voters, you necessarily undercount people who have only been able to vote in a couple of elections” and who only use cell phones, said Larimore-Hall. He added that he believes Democratic candidates like State Assemblymember Das Williams and newly elected State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson benefited from students turning out to vote on Prop. 30, reversing the phenomenon in which top-of-the-ticket items influence down-ballot votes.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Remember when they told us that the California Lottery would make our schools solvent?

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
November 10, 2012 at 7:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Remember when they told us "trickle down" would work and with such an expanding economy we wouldn't NEED to raise taxes??

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 10, 2012 at 11:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Remember when they told us the earth is flat?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 10, 2012 at noon (Suggest removal)

Remember when homelessness was not a national epidemic?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 10, 2012 at 1:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I watched "The Grapes of Wrath" last night, enough said.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 10, 2012 at 3:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@italiansurg - In fairness, I don't think anyone ever said the Lottery money would make our schools solvent, exactly. But yes, I think about where the Lottery money went every time I think about this prop!

Native1 (anonymous profile)
November 10, 2012 at 4:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What I remember is that we were told the lottery would help our schools. No matter what bond propositions pass, the situation never changes.

I find it interesting that the same side which is for the $100,000,000,000+ high speed rail also laments what is happening to the schools. The money is there, it's simply being wasted. Streamline what we pay in taxes to what we really need, and our needs will be met.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 10, 2012 at 5:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The lottery accounted for 1.6% of K-12 school funding in 2006-2007.

Over two-thirds came from the state. Only 21.4% came from local property taxes. Today, the former would include Prop 98 and Prop 30 revenues.

Things have changed quite a bit since Howard Jarvis and Prop 13.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 10, 2012 at 6:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

what we were told when voting on the lottery was that all of the revenue would go to the schools - in addition to what was already funded by the State general fund already earmarked for the schools.

What ended up happening is all the lottery money was put into the general fund and the schools ended up net zero for an increase in funding.

This is what happens with most of these "save the schools" propositions, it is all a shell game - and Jerry is the king of that game.

cartoonz (anonymous profile)
November 10, 2012 at 8:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why quibble now? Fund the schools, track all the monies. Make necessary adjustments. Can't really waste time when people's lives are involved. Stoked 30 passed.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 11, 2012 at 1:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

A public watchdog is needed to oversee the spending of Prop 30 to ensure that all of the Prop 30 funds are spent on education, and does not disappear into the General Fund and then, from there to who knows where. The Governor of California cannot be trusted to do this.

EarlRichards (anonymous profile)
November 11, 2012 at 6:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

would pay this "public watchdog" with public money from Prop 30 or...? Just sayin'

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 11, 2012 at 10:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There should be a proposition #1. Every expenditure above a certain amount (e.g. $1 million), pay 1% for watchdog consultants to oversee the spending. Included in the 1% would be accountants and experts in the field of the project. With bonus money going to the watchdogs if they make major contributions.

khiggler (anonymous profile)
November 11, 2012 at 11:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It was a vote for the status quo. Now the changes that needed to be made won't occur and in a few years, the state will be coming hat in hand stating that another tax increase will be necessary to avoid painful cuts to vital services. Meanwhile, we engage in more boondoggle projects like high speed rail, public employee salaries and benefits get fatter, legislative perks and benefits get extended and expanded and DrDan says we hate our children if we don't vote for another tax increase.

Some things never change.

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 11, 2012 at 4:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Let's get back to what worked for California, we were high service, high income and yes- high taxed but we got A LOT for our money.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 11, 2012 at 5:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm with you KV but I fear that with only 1/8 of the population in the U.S. and yet with 1/3 of all welfare cases, along with being the highest taxed state in the Union, those good old days will never return. We did used to get a lot, didn't we...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
November 12, 2012 at 9:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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