September 2, 2016
At the urging of Lunch Ladies, School Bus Drivers, Custodians and other school workers at the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District, Board Members unanimously pass resolution in support of November ballot initiative
The custodians, cafeteria workers, campus safety officers, bus drivers and other classified school workers of SEIU Local 99 urged School Board Members at the Santa Monica Malibu School District to pass a resolution (see page 180 of agenda) in support of a ballot initiative that will extend by 12 years the current tax rate on the wealthiest 2% of Californians. Most of the money raised through this current additional tax is funneled into a dedicated education fund that has helped California schools turn a corner after devastating years of education cuts. The Board voted unanimously to adopt the resolution at their September 1, 2016 meeting.
“We lost a lot of critical staff during all the education cuts. Cafeteria cuts meant the lunch lines were so long that students didn’t have time to eat. The custodial staff was cut and couldn’t effectively clean. They were put on A/B/C rotations, so instead of having the trash emptied and floor swept every day, a classroom was only attended to every few days. Any special project—even just a light bulb changed—had to be put on the backburner. And we lost two security officers here. Imagine 3,000 students on 64 acres with only six officers—you do the math,” said Chancy Jones, a Campus Security Officer at Santa Monica High. “We can’t go back to that. We’re only just starting to recover. We haven’t brought back those positions yet; we’ve just added a few part-time hours here and there. That’s why I’m going to get involved in voter education about why Prop. 55 is so important. And I applaud the School Board for urging voters to vote ‘YES!’ on 55!”
“The Santa Monica-Malibu School District Board of Education adopted a resolution in support of Proposition 55. I strongly support this proposition; we know that its passage is critical to maintaining adequate funding of school districts throughout California,” said Laurie Lieberman, president of the school board.
In 2012, SEIU Local 99 members played a huge role in voter turnout for Proposition 30, which called on the richest Californians to pay their fair share with a slight income tax increase. Its passage put an end to the massive cuts—$56 billion—to education, healthcare and other critical services and ended years of layoffs, overcrowded classrooms and community college tuition hikes.
“SEIU Local 99 members had a front-row seat on the devastating impact of state budget cuts to our schools and community colleges,” said SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias. “Not just as employees, but also as parents of children in our schools. The cuts meant the child with asthma struggled in classrooms that could only be swept once a week. Cuts meant parents scrambled because their child’s bus route was eliminated. We can’t go back to cuts.”
To ensure passage of Prop. 55, SEIU Local 99 members will conduct an extensive voter outreach campaign, including phone calls, neighborhood walks and mailed information about this important ballot initiative.
SEIU Local 99 represents nearly 40,000 employees in public and non-public organizations in early education, child care, K-12, and community college levels. SEIU Local 99 members are: Teacher’s Assistants, Playground Workers, Special Education Assistants, Bus Drivers, Gardeners, Custodians, Cafeteria Workers, Maintenance Workers, Family Service Workers, Child Care Providers, and others working in schools, colleges, and administrative offices throughout Southern California.