Join the EDU debate on Prop 30

EDU has decided, as a caucus, to take no position on Prop 30. However, with this posting we are opening a dialogue among our members about Prop 30. Please join the discussion through our comments section.

Andy Libson and David Russitano on Prop 30:

California education is in crisis. In the last 35 years, California has gone from 1st in the nation to nearly 50th on many educational measurements. It started with passing of proposition 13, with it’s corporate loopholes, all the way through to Race to the Top and now, Brown’s recent pension reform.

While it has been billed as progressive, Prop. 30 is a “shared sacrifice” measure that raises taxes through a regressive sales tax increase and a progressive income tax increase.

Proposition 30, on the ballot this November, will no way reverse the tide of this attack. Despite the fact that it is projected to raise $9 billion, it will not stop the bleeding of resources from public education or public services.

As soon as the Millionaire’s Tax was defeated and the Prop. 30 compromise was reached. Sacramento politicians reported that the CA budget deficit was actually $17 billion not the $9 Billion that had been reported earlier. With a stroke of a pen, Governor Brown swallowed whole virtually the entire amount of $9 billion in revenue projected to be raised by Prop. 30.

Despite Prop. 30 being billed as a measure to fund education, Prop. 30 is primarily an initiative for balancing the state budget and in no way guarantees money for public education. Governor Brown is already indicating that Prop. 30 revenues may be allocated for construction of a California bullet train.

EDU believes that no matter what happens in November that cuts to education in social services are guaranteed. The job of our union (UESF) and all unions in CA is to organize their members to stop all the cuts. Like our sisters and brothers in Chicago, California unions should have used the power of our membership to strike in SF, in LA and in SD. Instead, our unions pulled the plug on this approach to focus on passing a Proposition which does not stop the cuts in education but advertises to delay deeper ones.

By accepting cuts in our contract if Prop. 30 fails and selling our struggle short to campaign for Prop. 30, educator unions in SF, LA and SD, have accepted the framework of shared sacrifice and balancing budgets at the expense of vital social services. Furthermore, by agreeing to contract frameworks that accept massive furloughs if Prop. 30 fails unions have accepted that our contract or our schools will be bargained at the ballot box. This was a huge mistake that has put public education at the mercy of an election system rigged to favor the rich.

Far from building the fight against austerity and cuts, Prop. 30 has been a tool by Governor Brown to demobilize it. It is unfortunate that some many unions across California have joined him in this.

For that reason, EDU will not be calling for a “yes” vote on Proposition 30. At the same time, EDU rejects the “no” vote coming from “no news taxes” right-wing that also seeks to dismantle publically-provided education and services. If Prop. 30 passes, EDU believes that UESF will need to be preparing to fight layoffs and cuts in the spring. If Prop. 30 fails, we believe we need to find a way to fight the trigger cuts that will be used to justify furloughs and further attacks on public education.