Culver City parents, students, and community leaders gathered Tuesday evening at Veteran’s Memorial Park to rally with the Culver City PTA and United Parents of Culver City to urge their friends and neighbors to vote yes for Proposition 38.
On the state ballot November 6, Prop. 38 is an education initiative that would guarantee that new income tax dollars go straight to every local school in California, restoring deep cuts to education throughout the state.
For Culver City, a yes on 38 vote would guarantee over $6 million for Culver City Unified School District schools in 2013-14, then increasing to approximately $15 million by 2023-24, according to the California State PTA.
Speakers at the rally included rally organizer and parent and executive Vice President of the Culver City Council PTA Jody Reichel; parent and School Board member Laura Chardiet; retired teacher and school board member Nancy Goldberg; United Parents of Culver City (UPCC) president Steven Levin; Scott McVarish and Scott Kecken also of United Parents of Culver City; parent and legislative advocate and PTA member Ken Browning who emceed the event, and Culver City High School students Roy Gonzalez, Nick Guthman and Martin Beer.
“Folks, this is real. This can make a difference. This time it really counts. This is the single most important thing we can do for our kids this year,” said McVarish.
Proponents of Proposition 38 say that money generated could be used to reduce class sizes, add counselors and librarians restore art, music, math and science programs to Culver City Unified students as well as all students across California.
“When I was growing up, California’s public schools were among the best in the nation. Today California ranks 47th in per pupil spending,” said Jody Reichel, parent and executive vice president of the Culver City Council PTA. “In the last four years alone our state has cut $24 billion from our public schools.”
School board member Laura Chardiet explained how Culver City has survived the cuts thus far.
“Part of the reason we have excellent schools [in Culver City] is because our teachers, our administrators and our staff have taken furlough days to keep cuts away from our classrooms," she said. "We have an Education Foundation, PTA and boosters that year after year raise more and more money to plug the holes that are created from our lack of funding from Sacramento.”
Proposition 38 raises money using a “fair share” approach, or a sliding scale tax. The tax is based on the ability to pay, with the wealthiest Californians paying the most, about 2.2% more in taxes. Most people earning under $50,000 will not see their taxes increase.
To ensure that the money goes directly to the students, Proposition 38 guarantees that Sacramento politicians can’t touch it and the money can’t be used for any other purposes. Extra dollars are brought into the local schools on a per pupil basis, and each dollar raised will be spent with community input and evaluations. School districts must publicly disclose how the new funds were spent.
“If proposition 38 passes, so will the students of today, so will the students of tomorrow,” said Culver City High School Junior Nick Guthman.
California has a second education initiative, Proposition 30, also on the ballot in November. Proposition 30 uses a sales tax increase instead of an income tax.
Since only one of the propositions can become law, the one with the most votes will win. The supporters at the Culver City rally asked that Culver City voters cast a yes vote for both 30 and 38.
McVarish pointed out that Proposition 30 simply prevents further cuts.
“If 30 doesn't pass our schools will have twice as many cuts as they suffered in the last five years. If 38 passes, we actually get new, additional money for the first time in five years," he said.
“If neither passes, our schools and our kids will be hit very hard,” said Reichel. “You may prefer one measure or the other, but if you care about giving our kids a chance to build a future as great as or better than our past, please don’t split the vote. Please vote for both Prop 30 and Prop 38. We owe it to our kids to do all we can to stop the cuts.”
Culver City PTA and United Parents of Culver City announced that they are working together to help spread the word on voting yes on Propositions 30 and 38. UPCC’s Parents-to-Friends campaign will utilize social networking such as Facebook to personally connect to voters in the community. For more information on this effort, email pac@UnitedParentsCulverCity.com , go to Facebook.com/upccpac or visit http://www.UnitedParentsCulverCity.com.
For more information about the Yes on 38 campaign, including how much new funding Prop 38 sends directly to schools in your community, visit http://www.prop38forlocalschools.org