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Trustees Take Action to Support Educational Tax Initiatives

Stark fiscal outlook is center stage as governing board votes to support Proposition 30 and Proposition 38 to avoid drastic mid-year cuts.

Trustees of the Lemon Grove School Districts unanimously passed a resolution in support of two educational tax initiatives at Tuesday's governing board meeting. Board members also accepted the 2011-12 unaudited actuals.

Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's “Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act,” stands to avoid a statewide education funding loss of approximately $5.5 billion. Proposition 38, Civil Rights Attorney Molly Munger’s “Our Children Our Future,” calls for an increased personal income tax effective in January 2013 with revenues flowing into the California Education Trust Fund and distribution of funds in the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Dr. Gina Potter, assistant superintendent of business service,s said that the upcoming November election is extremely important for public education in California.

Potter said the California School Boards Association (CSBA) and many other education advocates support both Proposition 30 and 38. She said in August, a University of Southern California and Policy Analysis for California Education poll showed 55 percent of voters supporting Proposition 30, and 36 percent opposing it; Proposition 38 showed 40 percent support, and 49 percent opposition.

She added that if both tax measures fail, the LGSD would be punched with a mid-year budget cut of up to $1.7 million.

“Our district has been proactive in dealing with this potential fiscal problem and our board-approved 2012-13 budget reflects a plan to address this possible budget reduction,” Potter said. “Additionally, we are grateful to our staff members for negotiating three furlough days in the event the education tax initiatives fail.”

Potter said the three furlough days would reduce the student school year from 180 to 177 school days if the taxes fail to pass, protecting student’s instructional time as much as possible.

Governing board member Katie Dexter said the CSBA delegate assembly voted to support both propositions after a very lengthy discussion.

“The final rational was that something has to pass and get some money coming back into education,” Dexter said. “Bottom line, support one or support the other. This resolution does not say it is supporting one or the other but supports what the CSBA is trying to do—getting Sacramento moving in the right direction.”

Superintendent Ernest Anastos said he strongly urged the governing board to adopt a resolution provided by the CSBA to support approval of the November ballot tax initiatives.

“Proposition 30 is very significant to all of us and needs all of our support,” he said. “There are concerns if the other initiative passes rather than Proposition 30, trigger cuts will still be activated.”

Pierre Finney, president of the Lemon Grove Teacher Association, said the LGTA is taking proactive steps to keep children in the classroom, not losing academic time, and keeping students learning and teachers teaching by kicking off a phone-bank campaign in support of Proposition 30.

“We will have teachers phone banking every night from now until Nov. 2,” she said. “We may be asking the board and administrators to join us in this effort.”

Marilyn Adrianzen, business services coordinator, said that each year school districts throughout the state have had to make multi-year budget reductions.

“This has caused significant upheaval to our state's public education system and has forced districts like ours to initiate layoffs, negotiate furlough days, move forward with school closure, reduce or eliminate school programs, assign principles to more than one school and more,” she said.

In presenting unaudited actuals, Adrianzen said multi-year budget reductions amounted to $4.3 million in fiscal year 2012-11, $2.9 million in 2011-12 and $4.3 million in 2012-13.

“We know that in 2013-14 we will be facing more budget cuts,” she said. “Although this is not good news it is evident that our district has placed student learning at the center of our efforts despite our limited resources.”

In a 3-0 unanimous vote, the governing board adopted the resolution in support of both propositions. Trustees Blanca Brown and Larry Loschen absent from the meeting.

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