Riverside Area Educators and Parents Kick Off Local Campaign Asking Californians to Vote Yes on Prop. 55

Passing Ballot Measure Necessary to Prevent up to $4 Billion in Funding Cuts to Schools & Colleges

RIVERSIDE – With children back in the classroom, local supporters of Proposition 55 today held a press conference at Lake Elsinore Middle School, launching the local campaign in support of the initiative that will prevent nearly $4 billion in funding cuts to education. Local educators, parents and administrators came together 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 a critical investment for our children and for our state’s future – one we cannot afford to lose,” said Bill Cavanaugh, President Lake Elsinore Teachers Association. “Public schools and colleges are just starting to come back from the devastating cuts made during the recession, and unless we pass this measure to extend the current tax rates on wealthiest Californians, our schools and students will again lose billions of dollars.”

“School budgets are planned years out and the stability this measure will provide for our children will be critical,” said Dr. Doug Kimberly, LEUSD Superintendent. “Passing this measure in November, and knowing that public school funding with be maintained at a reasonable level, will let us continue to focus on what matters most – providing a quality education experience to our children.”

The immediate benefits of Proposition 30 were felt in 2012 and the restoration of cuts has continued since then. With the passage of Proposition 30 in 2012, Lake Elsinore Unified School District was able to immediately restore five of the nine unpaid furlough days, days of lost instruction for children. The Murrieta Valley Unified School District and Temecula Valley Unified School District were also able to restore workdays. And class sizes across the region have been reduced.

However, 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 and colleges will lose nearly $4 billion and our state budget will face a deficit of more than $4 billion in the first full year alone, putting the progress our schools have made at risk to cuts.

Earlier this week, the campaign launched its first television ad, which reminds Californians of the devastating cuts made to education during the Great Recession and describing how Proposition 55 will keep the state from going back.

The large and growing coalition of Prop. 55 supporters 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.

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.

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.