This election, voters are making tough decisions that may ultimately serve as the tipping point for public education. Many bristle at the notion of more taxes, regardless of the cause. Times are tight. I get it. However, before taking the position of "no" for anything resembling a tax increase, consider the impacts of public education before rejecting Proposition 30 or 38.
As it stands, school districts across the state are only receiving 77 cents on the dollar from the state. For Galt Joint Union Elementary School District, our budget has been cut by over $5 million annually — or approximately 15 percent each year — in the past five years. School districts have cobbled budgets together through layoffs, reduction in programs and furloughs.
The state has further compounded the problem by not paying school districts on time or deferring these funds, which restricts cash flow. Should Proposition 30 fail, the governor will cut another 6.54 percent from education. In my school district, this amount equates to about $421 less per student — or $1.57 million.
While we've attempted to keep cuts away from the classroom, bus routes and music programs were reduced, libraries were shuttered (community fundraising has temporarily reopened them recently), personnel, including groundskeepers and custodians, were reduced, and vice principals and school district administrator positions were eliminated. Simply put, there is nothing left to cut.
I am deeply concerned that if Proposition 30 or 38 does not pass, it may be the straw that breaks the backs of many school districts. In my community, we face dismantling proven practices and systems that resulted in every elementary and middle school achieving an Academic Profile Index of at least 800. The governor's response if Proposition 30 doesn't pass: 20 fewer school days. What does that say about the quality education that we should be providing our future leaders?
Let's not further compromise the quality of education in our state. I urge you to say "no" to further cuts to public education and vote "yes" on both Propositions 30 and 38.
School board member
Galt Joint Union Elementary School District