San Diego Community College Leaders, Professors, and Education Advocates 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

SAN DIEGO – With children and college students back in the classrooms, local supporters of Proposition 55 today held a press conference at San Diego City College, launching the local campaign in support of the initiative that will prevent nearly $4 billion in funding cuts to education. Local community college leaders, professors, teachers, and other community advocates 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 will mean that my students continue to have the resources they need to attend college. California has a simple choice: a big tax cut for the rich, or serving the needs of millions of community college students. We can't do both," said Kelly Mayhew, English Professor at San Diego City College.

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.

“I am a strong supporter of Prop 55 and its passage is imperative to prevent billions in cuts to education and vital services,” said San Diego City Councilmember David Alvarez.

During the recession, the San Diego Community College District was greatly affected. It lost $33 million, almost 10% of its actual operating budget. Faculty numbers were reduced through attrition, leaving almost 400 much-needed positions vacant, cutting thousands of classes, and turning away over 20,000 students.

Since the San Diego Community College District is the single largest workforce trainer in San Diego County, these cuts directly affected the region’s economy by not training the workforce in the numbers necessary for our community.

“It is important for our community to know the positive impact that Proposition 30 has had on community college budgets and the potential impact of its successor, Proposition 55,” said Dr. Constance M. Carroll, Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District.

The funding restored in recent years, which would be continued with the passage of Proposition 55, has allowed the district to:
• Restore thousands of class sections for students,
• Reinstitute the summer sessions and an intersession,
• Welcome tens of thousands of students back,
• Start new programs for students, including a bachelor’s degree program,
• Hire over 140 full-time faculty positions, and
• Put in place new workforce training initiatives.

Just yesterday, 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.