100+ Schools Boards Across the State Endorse Proposition 55

With less than a week before Election Day, more than 100 local and county schools boards across California, including some of the largest districts in the state, have endorsed Proposition 55.

The schools boards, including Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, Alameda Unified School District, Fresno County Board of Education, Santa Clara Unified School District, and Ventura County Board of Education, are urging voters to support Prop 55 in order to protect schools and students from devastating cuts. A full list of the boards can be found on yeson55.com.

“Now is not the time to cut funding for education, which would force our schools back to the days of teacher layoffs, larger class sizes and cuts to programs. We can prevent cuts simply by maintaining the current tax rates on the wealthiest Californians with a yes vote on Prop 55,” said Chris Ungar, President, California School Boards Association. “Whether you vote by mail, or vote at the polls on Election Day, what matters is that you find Prop 55 on the ballot and vote yes.”

“A lot is at stake this election, and our students and communities are counting on California voters to keep schools from going back to days of massive budget cuts by getting out and voting yes on Prop 55,” said LAUSD Board President Steve Zimmer.

Passing Proposition 55 this year is critical because most school districts plan their budgets two or three years in advance, so schools would have to start making cuts now if they could not plan on the extension of the current income tax rates on the wealthy. Prop 55 allows school districts to bring stability to their budget planning now, and in the future.

Prop. 55 puts new revenue into a specific fund for education to make sure the money goes to local schools and gives control to local school boards to determine student needs. Local school districts must separately identify how the funds are spent in their annual budgets and must post spending online to guarantee that Californians know exactly how and where funds are spent. Local districts are also subject to independent local audits.

Prop 55, the California Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act of 2016, will temporarily maintain the current income tax rates on the wealthiest Californians for 12 more years – singles earning more than $250,000 and couples earning more than $500,000 a year. Prop 55 directs funds specifically to K-12 public education and community colleges, while also allocating funds to health care for low-income children and their families. The proposition contains strict accountability requirements.

Budget forecasts show that unless we extend the taxes on the wealthy, which would continue to bring in an average of $8 billion in annual revenues, our public schools will lose nearly $4 billion and our state budget will face a deficit of more than $4 billion in the first full year alone.

A Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) survey just released yesterday found that 59% of voters support extending the income tax rates on the wealthiest individuals and couples to spare education and other vital services from a repeat round of devastating budget cuts.