California voters are being asked to make difficult decisions this November on a series of propositions that will have a profound effect on the state’s future.
None of these propositions will affect students in California more than Proposition 30”” the Temporary Taxes to Fund Education; Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding Initiative.
Proposition 30 promises to provide temporary tax dollars to fund state education for the next seven years by creating additional sales and income taxes that will offset an estimated $5 billion cut in funding in this and future years.
Students don’t need to look far to see the signs of the devastating budget cuts that K-12 schools, community colleges, and state universities have already suffered during the last few years.
For example, a quick scan of the fall 2012 East Los Angeles College (ELAC) schedule reveals dozens of cancelled classes from the arts department to theater; from accounting to Spanish; online classes and the satellite campuses; all denoted by red strike-throughs.
The South Gate shuttle bus provided at ELAC was eliminated, making it necessary for many low-income students who depended on it to provide their own transportation between campuses.
Adding classes, especially math and English, has become a challenging venture for many students, and some department tutoring labs have disappeared altogether.
Virtually all departments are cutting back in faculty, teachers-aids, classes, labs and supplies in an effort to deal with the current budget cuts.
If Proposition 30 fails, more budget cuts will follow threatening the survival of departments that may be deemed non-essential.
Now is the time for eligible students to mobilize to ensure the passage of Prop. 30.
Students hold the future, and the present, of the school in their hands and can no longer remain apathetic to the voting process.
Yes, Proposition 30 is not without fault. State republicans oppose it primarily because of the language of the initiative.
They would argue that the proposition does not exclude the possibility of these funds being misdirected, and may not be used for education as intended.
Now is not the time to quibble about the initiative’s language. The state of California’s educations system is in crisis; these funds will be used as intended. This proposition must pass.
California is asking its wealthier residents to help save the future of its students, but all residents will contribute.
The passing of Proposition 30 will create a one-quarter percent sales tax for all Californians, and will increase income tax, one to three percent, for those residents who earn more than $250,000 annually.
This proposition must not fail; students must take action; the future of the school and its students must be preserved.
A version of this article was originally published in East Los Angeles Campus News.
Gus Ugalde is a print journalist and Boyle Heights native. He is a graduate of both Salesian High School and East Los Angeles College. With writing as his passion, he has had over 500 stories published at several publications throughout Southern California.
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