My question is, if all of us agreed to pay higher taxes to help out schools, what are local schools doing with that money that they were not counting on? Lack of money is why they had to cut on services and staff in the past. I am tired of my kids being in crowded classrooms, not having access to summer school classes and other student services being cut. I have three kids in elementary schools, one in high school and one at IVC. Like other parents I am concerned about the rising cost of college, while the preparation of my students is being jeopardized. We all deserve to know what are local schools doing with the money they were not counting on? Is it all going to the classroom, to restore student services? — Concerned Parent, El Centro
While all of the superintendents in Imperial County will have something different to say, in sentiment, we believe they all share the same idea that beyond this year, it isn’t clear how much money will be coming to public schools.
We spoke with El Centro Elementary School District Superintendent Jon LeDoux, who said no school district gets anything extra this year. Rather, the passage of Proposition 30 ensures that what the districts have now is not subject to second-semester cuts.
If Prop. 30 did not pass, districts were going to have to give back what the state had given this year and make drastic cuts.
The passage “allowed us to keep the funds that we were promised this year,” he said. “It’s not a matter of new funds this year; it’s a matter of keeping the funds we have.”
LeDoux said Gov. Jerry Brown has said Proposition 30 will provide about $6.2 billion for education this year, with $3.5 billion going to maintaining present levels (what he stated earlier) and just over $2 billion of that going to pay back funding deferrals owed to local schools districts across the state since fiscal 2007-2008. The remainder would go to state community colleges and other obligations.
Beyond this year, it isn’t known how the money will fall.
The hope is, LeDoux said, that going forward Prop. 30 dollars, combined with Brown’s plan to give schools more flexibility on how they spend their money, is that classroom sizes will lower, staff will be brought back and more services will be provided.
But we imagine each year will be contingent on how the Legislature arranges the budget, as Proposition 30 is meant for education but goes into the general fund.