Bakersfield Educators, Parents and Other Supporters Strive to Help Our Kids Thrive by Asking for Yes Vote on Prop 55

Passing Ballot Measure Necessary to Prevent up to $4 Billion in Funding Cuts to Education

BAKERSFIELD – As Election Day draws closer, local school employees, teachers, parents, community advocates and other supporters held a press conference today at the Kern County Liberty Bell, highlighting local support for Proposition 55, which will prevent nearly $4 billion in funding cuts to education. Proposition 55 maintains the current income tax rates on the wealthiest Californians in order to protect public education and other vital services, like children’s health care, from cuts.

“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 Steven Comstock, President, Bakersfield Teachers Association.

“In 2009, our members were asked to make a choice: layoffs for some, or furloughs for all. We chose furloughs, amounting to a 10 percent cut in pay. Students were impacted as well, with fewer classes and higher fees. With Prop 30 in 2012, funding for the CSU system began to stabilize,” Shelly Carson, President, CSU Bakersfield Chapter 310, CSU Employees Union. “Don’t take us back to layoffs, furloughs, and tuition hikes. Join CSU employees, students and so many others in saying yes on 55!”

“There are a lot of issues on the ballot this election, but Prop 55 is the only initiative that will prevent $4 billion in cuts to public education and allow the progress our schools are making to continue,” said Rameldia Mark, Special Needs School Bus Driver and CSEA Area D Director.

Absentee ballots have been mailed out, and the speakers at the press conference encouraged those who vote by mail to return their ballot as soon as possible. The speakers added that 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.

“What can we do to help our kids and public schools? The answer is simple – make sure you vote and vote yes on Prop 55 to help our kids thrive,” said Nadine Fuentes, Voter Engagement Staff at Faith In The Valley Kern County.

“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 Bernice Bonillas, member of California Alliance for Retired Americans, League of Women Voters, and Kern County DCC.

Proposition 55, the California Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act of 2016, is not a tax increase, it simply maintains 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. 

Prop 55’s strict accountability and transparency requirements ensure funds designated for education go to classrooms, not to bureaucracy or administrative costs. Prop 55 puts new revenue into a specific fund for education to make sure the money goes to local schools. The legislature can’t touch it. Furthermore, Prop 55 gives control to local school boards to determine student needs and 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.

In addition to these local supporters and organizations, the coalition of more than 300 organizations and elected officials supporting Prop 55 includes the California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, California School Employees Association, California State PTA, California Medical Association, California Labor Federation, Health Access California, League of Women Voters, Children’s Defense Fund, and Children’s Hospital Association, as well as numerous elected officials and dozens of schools boards across the state.

Budget forecasts show that unless we extend the current 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.