Prop 30: What it really means for California schools

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Prop 30

Prop 30 will allocate extra funds to K-12 schools and community colleges. (Shutterstock photo)

Proposition 30 passed on Tuesday, but for Californians, the new plan to help fund education means much more than just a minor increase in taxes.

According to a report from the California Budget Project, “Proposition 30 would increase the state sales tax rate by one-quarter cent for four years, from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2016. California’s statewide base sales tax rate is 7.25 percent, and the tax increase would raise it to 7.50 percent.”

In addition to the sales tax increase, individuals making more than $250,000 annually would see a personal income tax increased based on taxable income.

Monies collected from the constitutional amendment will go toward realignment of funding for a number of programs, including those for public safety, social services, health and education.

The fund where these monies will be deposited is called the “Education Protection Account (EPA)” which is within the state’s General Fund.

Lawmakers expect the General Fund to grow by approximately $8 billion thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown’s Prop 30.

Overall, funding for community colleges should increase by $2.9 billion thanks to monies gained through Prop 30.

Change from Prop 30

Prop 30

Funding from Proposition 30 will allow colleges to expand classes. (Shutterstock photo)

Other changes detailed in the proposition include:

  • 89 percent of EPA monies will be allocated to K-12 school districts, charter schools and county offices of education.
  • 11 percent of the EPA monies will go directly to community college districts.
  • Schools will receive minimum funding of $200 per student from the EPA fund, and community colleges will receive no less than $100 per student.
  • Prop 30 allows school districts to decide how to utilize the money from the EPA; however, public meetings must be held to discuss spending decisions.
  • Annual reports will be required to hold schools accountable for how EPA money was spent.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the new funding measure will allow colleges to restore classes, easing the California backlog of students waiting to obtain a degree. The increase in assistance has also prevented many schools from raising their tuition during the upcoming school year.

“We are hopeful that the passage of Proposition 30 will be the beginning of the state’s reinvestment in higher education,” California State Chancellor Charles B. Reed said in a statement. “The state needs to start making up for the devastating budget cuts of the past several years.”

The passage of Prop 30 also prevents California from suffering a number of budget cuts, including a loss of:

  • $4.8 billion of public school funding
  • $550 million in community college funding
  • $20 million for a grant program for city police departments
  • $10 million from the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
  • $6.6 million in flood control programs
  • $50 million from the Department of Developmental Services

“Proposition 30 presents voters with the opportunity to begin reversing a decade of disinvestment in California. The measure would help the state stabilize its budget, pay down debt, and begin to reinvest in education and other critical public services,” concluded the report.

 

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