L.A. School Board Favors Ballot Initiative that Extends Temporary Tax for Education, Health Care

LOS ANGELES (june 14, 2016) – The Los Angeles Board of Education unanimously agreed Tuesday to support a state initiative that allows higher spending for school districts and health care that serves large portions of low-income families.

The governing board overseeing the nation’s second-largest school district urged passage of the Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act. If approved in November, the funds would present school districts with a stable stream of dollars, helping L.A. Unified continue to gain ground toward its goal of 100 percent graduation, board members said.

Proposition 30, a sales and income tax increase that voter’s approved in November 2012, raised about $6 billion from 2012-13 through 2016-17, according to figures from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office and Director of Finance. But this temporary tax declines after this year and expires after 2018, unless the initiative passes.

“I am pleased with the board’s decision to support the Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act,” said Board Vice President Dr. George J. McKenna III, who sponsored the board’s proposal with Mónica García and Board Member Scott Schmerelson. “The additional revenue from Proposition 30 will help us advance our mission of providing a high-quality education to all LAUSD students.”

If the initiative is approved, Proposition 30 would be extended another 12 years, helping school districts make up fiscal ground. During the recession, the state made $56 billion in education cuts, resulting in large school deficits and teacher layoffs that districts have not recovered. Still, in recent years, L.A. Unified has seen student reading and writing rates improve over this period.

“We appreciate leadership across California that has recognized the difficulty of growth after constant budget cuts.” said L.A. Unified School Board Member Mónica García. “In L.A. Unified,” she said, these temporary budget solutions focused on the immediate need to restore five days of instruction for kids, and cost of living adjustments that employees had postponed through the recession, and return essential support for early education, K-12, and adult education services.”

Board Member García added: “We have supported local control at our school sites, reduced Bureaucracy, balanced budgets, and increased academic achievement.The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education believes that passage of the Children’s Education and

Healthcare Protection Act of 2016 will help maintain and build on our progress toward 100 percent graduation.”

If the district were to receive fewer dollars, then critical services would be unfilled. Already, California’s public schools already rank 42 out of 50 states in per-pupil spending. Other effects include crowded classrooms, along with students having fewer guidance counselors and librarians per capita than anywhere else in the U.S.

“With California’s per pupil spending already among the lowest in the nation, our children’s future depends on maintaining and increasing funding for public education,” said Board Member Schmerelson said. “We must urge voters to understand the importance of the Children’s Education and Healthcare Protection Act of 2016.”

Board members said the state should do more to restore school budgets. “Proposition 30 has helped L.A. Unified make significant gains in helping our neediest students, but it is not enough,” said Board Member Mónica Ratliff. “If we want to continue making strides in closing the achievement gaps that disproportionately affect our most disadvantaged youth, we need to work together to ensure the passage of the Children’s Education and Healthcare Protection Act of 2016.” 

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Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766

 

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