Educators, Parents and Other Supporters Kick Off Local Campaign Asking Californians to Vote Yes on Prop. 55 to Help Our Kids Thrive

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

SACRAMENTO – As children are preparing to head back to school, local supporters of Proposition 55 held a press conference today, launching the local campaign in support of the initiative that will prevent nearly $4 billion in funding cuts to education. LAUSD Board of Education President Steve Zimmer and Vice President Dr. George McKenna joined teachers, parents and other advocates to voice their support for Proposition 55 on the ballot this November. 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.

“Prop. 55 is absolutely critical because we know that without an extension of the current tax rates on the wealthiest, public education will lose up to $4 billion a year – sending us back to the days of massive educator layoffs, larger class sizes, and more cuts to programs like art and music,” said LAUSD Board President Steve Zimmer. “Californians time and again have shown that they value education and don’t want to see our schools face cuts. This November, Californians will once again have the chance to stand up for our schools and students and say yes on Prop. 55 to help our kids thrive.”

Joining the board members at the press conference, were representatives from the Los Angeles Community College District, California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, California State PTA and Children Now. In addition to these organizations, the large and growing coalition of Prop. 55 supporters includes the 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.

In Los Angeles, officials estimate that the passage of Prop. 55 would bring the district up to $120 million in the 2018-19 school year, when the current taxes would expire. That would help offset a projected budget deficit of nearly half a billion dollars the following year. But should voters reject the initiative, the district will likely be forced to make cuts to a range of programs and layoff 100 teachers or more.

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. 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 recent Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) survey found that 64% 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. 

With school starting tomorrow supporters are also asking parents and caregivers to share back-to-school photos with the hashtag #backtoschool55. On social media channels, the campaign is also using the hash tags #YesOn55 and #CACantGoBack.