California Voters on Changes in Public Schools

By Ame Hossen

Passed in 2012 to increase taxes in order to fund California’s public school system, Proposition 30 is set to expire in 2016. The legislation proposed increasing the personal tax rate of individuals earning $250,000 or more a year, and also the state sales tax by a quarter cent. As the deadline to renew this proposition is fast approaching, Californians must decide the fate of the Golden State’s public school system.

A recent survey by PACE/USC Rossier School of Education shows that 63 percent of voters are in favor of extending Prop. 30. Of those surveyed, only 28 percent opposed the renewal of the proposition. The poll also revealed that six in 10 voters agreed that California should be directing more money towards its school system. In the three years since Prop. 30 has been passed, it has prevented more than $5 billion in education cuts within the state of California.

Prop. 13, passed on June 6, 1978, reduced property tax rates by 57 percent. 51 percent of the people asked approved of changes to Prop. 13—specifically, reassessments of property values and raises in commercial property taxes. These changes made to Prop. 13 would raise nearly $4 billion dollars, of which 40 percent would be directly given to public schools.

According to the same poll, 65 percent of voters have never heard of the Local Control Funding Formula, or the LCFF. Under Governor Jerry Brown, billions of dollars have been provided for schools directly channeled towards English learners, students from low-income families, and foster children. Surprisingly, only nine percent of the parents surveyed received any form of invitation to participate in the LCFF and their meetings.

While the LCFF continues working on schools and their accountabilities within state tests, voters continuously value one thing the most: pupil achievement rates.

A survey about new LCFF policies reveal voters ranked student achievement highest, at 29 percent, and implication of Common Core and State Standards lowest.

The PACE/USC Rossier School of Education poll was conducted August 3-22, also being the fifth poll in a series from Policy Analysis for California Education and USC Rossier.

For more information on California’s public school system, visit www.de.ca.gov.

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