Riverside Educators, Students and Other Supporters Rally to Urge Yes Vote on Prop 55 to Help Our Kids Thrive

As Election Day draws near, local teachers, faculty, school employees, students and elected officials, and community groups held a press conference today at Riverside City College, highlighting the 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.

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. They also encourage Californians to register to vote before it is too late – the deadline isOctober 24. 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.

 

“Schools and students in this region took big hits during the recession, painful cuts we are just starting to recover from,” said Dr. I. Angelov Farooq, Board Member, Riverside Unified School District and business owner. “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.”

“Californians need to ask themselves – what can we do to help our kids and public schools? The answer is simple – we need to vote yes on Prop. 55 this November to help our kids thrive,” said Robert Lemoine, President, The Association of Colton Educators and middle school teacher. “The students in Riverside are depending on us to stand up once again in support of their education.”

Joining Dr. Farooq and Lemoine at the event were Carla Arbagey, President, UC-AFT Riverside; Daniel Rudd, President, California School Employees Association, Riverside Unified Chapter; Mary Figueroa, Riverside Community College Trustee; and Sharron Lewis, Vice President, NAACP.

 

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.

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 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.