Superintendent's Letter to the Community: October 16, 2012
Dear FUHSD Community Member,
As you consider your participation in the election on November 6, I am writing to let you know that we cannot sustain the current program in the Fremont Union High School District if state funding to schools is further reduced. Since the state’s funding crisis began in 2008, schools statewide have sustained $20 billion in cuts and deferrals. As a result of these deep funding reductions from the state, the Fremont Union High School District has already been forced to cut $7,000,000 from this year’s budget. Despite our best efforts to keep these cuts away from the classroom, we have already begun to see impact on programs and services to students. Depending on the results of two ballot initiatives described below, we may be forced to make even more cuts that will threaten the quality of our schools.
This proposition is called "The Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012." The goal of this proposition is to provide additional revenues for the State's General Fund to help with the budget deficit and prevent deep cuts to public education. Referred to as Governor Brown's Initiative, the proposition would keep schools funded at the same level as 2011-12.
If Prop 30 fails, 90 percent of the trigger cuts in the 2012-13 Budget Act will be directed to public schools. It is estimated that the Fremont Union High School District will lose $445 per student or an additional $5,000,000! That large a cut, on top of the losses we have already seen, is likely to require shortening the school year (State law will invite a reduction of up to 15 days for each of the next two years!) and/or other cuts that will affect the great schools our community now enjoys.
Proposition 30 has the following provisions:
- Increases personal income tax on annual earnings over $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for families for seven years.
- Increases sales tax by ¼ cent for four years.
- Allocates temporary tax revenues 89% to K-12 schools and 11% to community colleges.
- Bars use of funds for administrative costs.
Revenue from Prop 30 could bring in from $6.8 to $9 billion dollars statewide.
Supporters of Proposition 38 refer to it as the "Our Children, Our Future: Local Schools and Early Education Investment Act." Attorney Molly Munger is the primary advocate behind Proposition 38. If enacted Prop 38 will:
- Increase personal income tax rates on annual earnings over $7316 using a sliding scale.
- During the first four years, allocates 60% of revenues to K-12 schools, 30% to repaying state debt, and 10% to early childhood programs. Thereafter, allocates 85% of revenue to K-12 schools.
- Provides K-12 funds on school-specific, per-pupil basis, subject to local control, audits, and public input.
- Prohibits state from directing new funds.
Revenue from Proposition 38 would provide roughly $6 billion per year for schools through 2017-18, increasing to roughly $8.5 billion after that, through 2024. It is unclear how these funds will be distributed or administered.
Neither Prop 30 nor 38 is perfect, but both provide viable short-term funding solutions that, at least, maintain our existing programs and services.
By law, superintendents and principals may not take positions on state propositions, but we may communicate the facts. Please share this information with your neighbors and friends who do not have children in school and may not know how critical these propositions are.
This generation of students is depending on us to speak up, so please VOTE.
Polly M. Bove, Superintendent